Chaussons au thon or mini tuna and cheese turnovers

Tuna turnovers or empanadas are a bit of an international recipe which revolves around a dough and a tuna filling.

I like this simple version with cream cheese which can also be served as triangles or rolls, using phyllo or ouarka sheet for a lighter version.

This is not how my mother makes it. She actually uses a regular shortcrust dough or a rough puff pastry..

Since I started making the cream cheese or fromage blanc dough, I decided that this is the right wrapping for these mini-bites which are quite welcome at any time of the day.

Makes  about 10 - 12 mini chaussons
Prep: 20 min - Resting time (for the dough): 20 min - Baking : 20 min

The dough which is an equal amount of cream and flour + 1/2 of that amount in butter
  • 180g of cream cheese (petits Suisses, kirri, philadephia, or anything similar with 40% fat)
  • 180g flour, sifted 
  • 90g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of parsley leaves, finely chopped (Optional)
The filling
  • 200 g can tuna meat, drained
  • 200 g of cream cheese, ricotta or Jben (Moroccan cheese)
  • 3 - 4  tbsps of chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsps of parsley leaves, chopped (or 1 tbsp of chives)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • A generous pinch of paprika or chili powder
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest (optional)
Eggwash and finishing
  • 1 + 1 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp of milk or water


Make the dough (ahead of time)

Drain the cheese at least a couple of hours before hand; kirri or philadelphia do not need draining but quark or petit suisse or any thick fromage blanc will still need this step.

Mix all the ingredients as if you are making a shortcrust dough: flour, salt and butter are mixed first for the crumbly texture, then fold in the cheese and form a bowl dough. And of course, DO NOT OVERWORK. 

Cover with a cling-film, place in the freezer for 10 min..

Now that's where you will make it look like a cousin of puff pastry:

Roll the dough, form an envelop (puff pastry) or a book buy folding the dough on 3 or 4 on itself. Turn it 1/4 and do the same two more time. 

If you haven't made puff before roll the dough to a rectangle (2 mm thick), then bring the right side to the centre then the left side, turn a quarter, roll in length and repeat...

Place in the freezer for 10 -20 min or about 90 min in the fridge 

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C.

Make the filling (can also be done ahead of time)

Mix all ingredients and place ideally in the fridge.

Shaping the tuna chaussons/turnovers

Roll the cold dough thin between two squares of baking sheets. Cut into circles about 8 to 10 cm diameter/

Place about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle and dip your finger in egg yolk and smear a bit of the edge with it. Bring the sides together to form a turnover. Pinch to seal.

Place each tuna turnover on a baking tray cover with a baking sheet.

Bake for approximately 20 min until the dough is colored golden form top and bottom.

Serve at room temperature.

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