Pumpkin empanadas or empanadas de calabaza 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!
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 egg yolk
1/4 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 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.
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.
Click onto picture above to see full recipe on how to prepare pumpkin filling from scratch.
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.
3 1/2 full cups finely chopped, fresh pineapple
¾ cup brown sugar or piloncillo, if available
1/2 teaspon anise seeds
1-2 inch piece of canela(cinnamon stick)
* ½ cup sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon