Empanadas de Calabaza(Pumpkin Empanadas)

Empanadas de Calabaza y de Piña~Preparing Pumpkin and Pineapple Empanadas


Empanadas de Calabaza(Pumpkin Empanadas)

Empanadas are in high demand right now.  In today’s post you will find the original pumpkin and pineapple empanada recipes I grew up with. The dough is rustic, but delicious. If your Mom and grandmother cooked like my Mom did, there was rarely a real recipe written down. It was mostly done by memory and somehow it always worked. Thanks to my tia Minerva in Mexico, she helped me get a better idea on how the original family recipe was prepared. You will also find a revised empanada dough recipe to start. This is just to give you an option and choose the one that  you think will work best for you. I love both, but will admit when I want empanadas that remind me of home and Mom, I will go with the original recipe at the end of the blog post. Happy baking! I will bring the coffee!


Empanadas de Calabaza-Pumpkin Empanadas

This is the original family recipe for Empanadas de Calabaza. You can find that original dough recipe at the end of the blog post. I only revised it because a few people expressed to me that they had trouble working with the dough. The revised dough recipe was adapted from chef Alex Perez. He has a great You Tube channel with many traditional Mexican recipes. Check him out! You should always choose the recipe that you think works best for you.


Yields 20 small Empanadas



Revised Dough Recipe –
1 3/4 cups flour, that have been sifted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Mexican canela(cinnamon)
1/3 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 cup shortening
1 large egg yolk
1/4- 1/3  cup hot milk, more or less

*1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed together 


1. Prepare the filling  a  day or two ahead of time. Once the filling is prepared, you can prepare the dough. 

2. In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening using your hand or a pastry cutter. Mix in the egg yolk. Gradually mix in the hot milk and gently knead until dough comes together. If it’s still too dry, add a little more hot milk. 

3. Transfer the dough to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.  When ready, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You can either grease two baking sheets or you can line them with parchment paper. Set aside.  While oven preheats, divide dough into 20 equal portions. Roll into a ball and flatten slightly. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with plastic. 

4.  Now, you have two options going forward. You can press the dough balls using a tortilla press lined with plastic. This will yield a more uniform and round shape. Or you can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough balls. Either way, you are looking for a disk about 4 inches in diameter. In my honest opinion, I found the rolling pin easier for this dough.  

5. Once you have your empanada disk ready, fill with 1- 1 1/2 full tablespoons of filling down the center, making sure you don’t get too close the the edges.  Fold over and press gently around filling to push out any air. I like to use the pinch and fold over method for sealing, but you could also use a fork if that is easier. Transfer filled empanadas to prepared baking sheets. Bake on bottom rack for 18-20 minutes or until edges begin to brown lightly. Move up to top rack  and broil just to brown the tops lightly. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. While empanadas are still warm, dredge gently through cinnamon and sugar. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Best enjoyed within a few days.  


Notes~ For this dough recipe, you will need about 2 cups of filling.

Empanadas de Calabaza-Pumpkin Empanadas

The empanadas pictured above had extra canela, so the dough appears darker. I add extra canela to my dough recipe when I use the pumpkin filling.

Empanadas de Piña-Pineapple Empanadas #empanadas

 The pineapple empanadas pictured above were prepared with the revised dough recipe from above. Instead of dredging them through cinnamon and sugar, I brushed them with egg wash before baking them. Egg wash is simply 1 large egg whisked together with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water.




Pumpkin Filling~Relleno de Calabaza

Click onto picture above to see full recipe on how to prepare pumpkin filling from fresh pumpkin.

Empanadas de Calabaza(Pumpkin Empanadas)


Preparing Pumpkin Filling Using Canned Pumpkin
1 large can pumpkin(not pie filling),about 4 cups
1 cup piloncillo or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoon butter


Melt the butter, add the pumpkin, brown sugar(or pilocillo) and spices. Cook on low, stirring often, until it becomesreally thick and darker in color. You want ot to look almost like a paste. Taste for sugar and spices as it cooks down. I like to add spice to my taste, just add a tiny pinch at a time.


Empanadas de Piña ~ The Original Recipe I learned from my family to prepare all sweet empanadas, including pumpkin, pineapple and cajeta(ducle de leche). The dough is a bit more rustic and delicate to work with, but it works! It really does come together in the end. The texture is slightly different from the other recipe. It will have more of a shortbread texture in the beginning and will soften a bit once stored in an airtight container.

Empanadas de Piña-Pineapple Empanadas
My best advice would be to prepare the filling the day before. It needs to be chilled or at least cool.
For Pineapple Filling
4  1/2  full cups finely chopped, fresh pineapple
¾-1 cup  granulated sugar or piloncillo, if available
2 tablespoons lemon juice
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold water
In a large nonstick skillet, add the  fresh pineapple and heat to medium heat. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Lower the heat and continue cooking for 45 minutes to 1 hour,  or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the vanilla. 
In  a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water. Stir well until  smooth. Set aside. Once liquid is mostly absorbed, it should become thick. Mix in the cornstarch slurry to the pineapple. Stir well to combine and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.   
For  Original Dough Recipe
1 cup water
 1/2 teaspon anise seeds
1-2 inch piece of canela(cinnamon stick)
3 1/2 cups flours, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
* ½ cup sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 For Dough: Combine the water, anise seeds and cinnamon stick in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium/low heat. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl just unti it begins to melt.  Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter or fork. Strain the anise/cinnamon from water. Start by mixing in 1/2 cup of warm “te de canela” into the flour mixture. Mix until dough forms. It will look slightly lumpy(not smooth). Knead in a little more water and work the dough for 5-6 minutes. I ended up adding about 3/4 cup of warm liquid. Cover with a towel and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
 To Assemble: When filling is cool and dough has rested, form   24  to 28 (1½-inch) dough balls and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Take one dough ball at a time and press in tortilla press lined with plastic storage bag or wax paper. Or you could roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Fill with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling, fold over, and using a fork,  or your fingers, press edges together to seal empanada
Bake: Transfer empanadas to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown.  If you like them a little more brown on top, cook under the broiler for less than one minute. While the empanadas are still slightly warm, roll in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Yields 24  to 28 small empanadas.

Pineapple Filling for Empanadas

Pineapple Filling for Empanadas

 Tips~ for a bright yellow pineapple filling, use white granulated sugar
Empanadas de Piña-Pineapple Empanadas
Empanadas de Piña using a soft yeast dough recipe for Mexican-style empanadas.  You can find that dough recipe on site.
Empanadas de Piña-Pineapple Empanadas
Empanadas de Piña using organic cane sugar so the results are a lighter colored pineapple filling. 
Empanadas de Calabaza-Pumpkin Empanadas
 The Original Pumpkin Empanada Recipe I learned From My Family.

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