one-hundredth year of the Brazilian cream cheese, Catupiry, Flavors of Brazil thought it a good idea to celebrate with one of the most well-known traditional recipes employing the creamy-smooth cheese. Brazilians adore a mixture of cooked, shredded chicken meat and Catupiry, flavored with any number of additional items - they use the mixture to fill sandwiches, to spread on toast points, and most particularly to fill a pie crust. Variously known as torta, empada or empadão, a double-crusted pie filled with chicken and cream cheese is a favorite choice for a party, a buffet table, a picnic, for almost anything.
In Brazil, it's easy to buy pre-cooked and pre-shredded chicken meat (frango desfiado) at almost any supermarket, but outside Brazil, you're likely to have to shred your own cooked chicken, whether it's leftovers or chicken cooked expressly for this recipe. Unless you have a source of Catupiry, you'll also have to substitute another brand of cream cheese, Try to find the kind that comes in a jar or tub, not Philadelphia-style, which has too many stabilizers to be used in this recipe.
RECIPE - Chicken, Palmito and Catupiry Pie (Torta de Frango, Palmito e Catupiry)
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose white flour
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 1/3 sticks (5 oz, 150 gr) unsalted butter, ice-cold and cut into small cubes
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 small egg
4 Tbsp. cold whole milk
For the filling:
1 lb (400 gr) cooked, shredded chicken meat, at room temperature
1 small can (14 oz) tomatos, with their juice
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
finely chopped green onion and parsley to taste
1/2 cup (125 ml) canned hearts of palm (palmito), diced
10 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas, rinsed and separated
1 cup (250 gr) Catupiry or other cream cheese
Prepare the crust:
Sift together all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter and cut them in, using a pastry cutter, until they are the size of small peas. Add the egg, and then the cold milk (tablespoon by tablespoon), mixing with a wooden spoon, until the mixture barely holds together and you are able to form a ball. Do not overmix. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Prepare the filling:
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the diced onion and cook until the onion is transparent but not browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute only. Add the canned tomatos (reserving the juice in the can) and continue to cook over medium heat, breaking up the tomatoes as you stir. Then add the shredded chicken, the hearts of palm, the peas, the green onion and parsley and the chopped olives. Stir briefly. Add the reserved juice from the tomatoes, bit by bit, until the mixture is thoroughly moist, but not overly-liquid.
Prepare the pie:
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator, and roll out slightly more than half of the ball into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Place into a 9 inch circular pie pan, or cake pan with removable bottom, covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Using a fork, poke holes into the dough, fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans, and put into the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, remove the weights, then fill the pie with the reserved filling. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the filling. Roll out the remaining dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter, and cover the lower crust and filling. Trim the crusts, and seal them together. Cut several holes in the top crust. Return to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the top crust is nicely browned.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Can be served hot or at room temperature.