Tag Archives: Empanadas

Sugar and Spice Mexican Pan de Dulce~ Soft Yeast Bread

For quite sometime I have been searching for a sweet, soft yeast dough for preparing empanadas. I have worked with several yeast doughs for pizza, Mexican sweet bread, conchas, pan de huevo and pan de muerto in the passed. Finally a few weeks ago, I saw a picture on Pinterest of what looked like those dark brown, soft pumpkin empanadas my Mom used to purchase at la panaderia. I quickly looked it up and as I read, it sounded just like what I was looking for. Of course the measurements were not in cups and teaspoons, but in kilos and grams. And a recipe with quantities that could feed a whole quiñceanera party, lol! So after a few conversions here and there and a few La Piña added touches, this is what I came up with. I cannot say enough about this dough recipe. If you like a dough that’s easy to work with and bakes up soft and stays soft for days, this one is it! nd the recipe for Pan de Huevo/Conchas that follows is revised from the first several times I prepared the  sweet bread. I had learn a few baking tips and was eager to try them out. The pan de huevo was also softer than all the previous time I had prepared it. It’s like I always tell myself when I feel unsure about something, “You will never know until you try”. Glad I tried, and tried and tried again…one never stops learning.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Soft  Yeast Dough  For  Empanadas 

A Mexican Style Yeast Dough For Empanadas
A Mexican Style Yeast Dough For Empanadas

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Yeast Dough For Empanadas

Ingredients

4 cups bread flour, sifted
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups warm milk

Mexican Style Soft Yeast Dough

Mexican Style Soft Yeast Dough

After about 2 1/2 hours the dough doubled in size and turned a darker brown color.
After about 2 1/2 hours the dough doubled in size and turned a darker brown color.

 

Directions

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until you have small crumbles. Cut in the sugar and yeast until well incorporated.

2. Mix in the eggs and cinnamon. Gradually add in the warm milk until dough forms. Transfer to a flat surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

3. Once dough rises, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Pull off enough dough to make a 1 1/2 ounce dough ball. Roll out to about 4 inches in diameter. Fill with 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold over and press gently around the filling to take out any air. Gently press with the palm of your hand.

4. Using your index finger, make an indentation starting at one end of empanada. Push in and with your thumb and index finger slighlty pinch to seal. Do this all the way across open end. Repeat until done and transfer onto lined baking sheets. Brush the tops of empanadas with egg wash or milk and quickly sprinkle with turbinado sugar or toasted coconut on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields up to 24 empanadas.

Cajeta Filling
Cajeta Filling
Gently press out the air around the filling
Gently press out the air around the filling
Fluted edges
Fluted edges
Dough is very easy to work with
Dough is very easy to work with
I had some leftover pineapple filling and I topped them with some toasted coconut.
I had some leftover pineapple filling and I topped them with some toasted coconut.
Perfectly puffed out dough and very soft.
Perfectly puffed out dough and very soft.
The dough stayed perfectly soft for days!
The dough stayed perfectly soft for days!

 

Testing empanada dough requires cajeta, dulce de leche. No fuss filling!

 Tips~ I have tried several things to prevent the dulce de leche from leaking out of the empanadas. One is to whisk in an egg yolk with the dulce de leche before using it as a filling. The other is to brush some eggwash on the edge of empanada when you get ready to seal them. Either way, some may still leak a little. So what I do when they come out of the oven, is I take a spatula and lift the hot dulce de leche and smear it over the top of the empanada, lol! Hey, it works!

 

 

 

Pan de Huevo~ Conchas

Once you perfect that sweet yeast dough recipe, you can prepare a variety of Mexican style sweet breads.
Once you perfect that sweet yeast dough recipe, you can prepare a variety of Mexican style sweet breads.

Pan de Huevo ~Conchas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degres F)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup shortening

4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds, optional
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups bread flour, sifted

Pan de Huevo/Conchas

For Topping
1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons vanilla

Tips~ If you want a colored topping, you could add a few drops of food coloring while you mix the ingredients together.

Pan de Huevo/Conchas

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine the yeast, honey and water. Let set for 10 minutes.

2. Cream together the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup shortening. Mix in the eggs, salt and yeast/water mixture. Place flour, anise seeds and cinnamon in a large bowl, make a well and add in the wet ingredients. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 12 balls. Place on greased baking sheet, press down lightly. Cover loosely and let rise for 1 hour. I had a problem with the dough sticking to paper and towel, so I put some toothpicks in the rolls and covered them loosely with plastic wrap. 

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While the conchas rise the last hour, prepare the topping. When ready, roll 2 tablespoons of topping into a ball and flatten into a round disc. Place over pan de huevo and score with a knife, careful not to cut into bread. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container with a slice of sandwich bread. This will help them stay moist for a couple of days. Best thing to do is to enjoy them while they are fresh.  Yields 12 Pan de Huevo/Conchas.

1Pan de Huevo/Conchas

Pan de Huevo/Conchas

Pan de Huevo/Conchas

Tips~ If you have a difficult time working with the topping, you could brush the rolls with milk or eggwash. While they are wet, add some of the crumbled topping on top. Bake as usual.

Tips~ To help dough rise, preheat oven to 200 degrees for 5 minutes. Shut off and place bowl in oven. I di not try this yet, but I will next time.

Mexican Style Sweet Empanadas~ Pineapple Apple- Toasted Coconut

You know the term “If it’s not broken, why fix it”? For many years I enjoyed the luxury of my Mom’s homemade Mexican style empanadas. Filled with pumpkin, pineapple and cajeta (dulce de leche). I know the dough recipe had few ingredients and that it had the texture of a more dense version of pie dough. By the time I wanted to learn her recipe, I had married and moved a thousand miles away. Mom had recipes written down, but finding them was a different task all together. My first attempts at re-creating her version was not the best. Then for many years I was preparing empanadas with a recipe my tia from Mexico shared with us. One of the main ingredients was beer?  And why not beer? Beer is great for baking breads, why not an empanada. At first I strictly used that recipe for savory empanadas. Then one day I just went for it and prepared a batch of beer dough and filled it with freshly sliced fruit, dark chocolate chips and dulce de leche caramel. Wow! For a few years I became an expert at that recipe filling it with all kinds of fillings, both sweet and savory. I think that it works for both as I  only use a light beer in the dough recipe so it’s not too strong once  baked.

Mexican style sweet empanadas filled with pineapple, apple and toasted coconut. Just add coffee or tea!
Mexican style sweet empanadas filled with pineapple, apple and toasted coconut. Just add coffee or tea!

By 2009, I had lost both of my parents and with that the hopes of having my Mom show me how she prepared her recipe hands on.  In 2011 I was blessed with a return trip to Monterrey, Mexico to visit family. And fortunate for me, I am blessed to still have my Mom’s sisters, three of which live in Monterrey and can bake like nobody’s business! Lol! While I was there I stayed with my tia Miné and we spent many hours cooking together. It was because of those times, that I am no longer afraid to cook using my pressure cooker, ha, ha, ha! I love it! My tia prepared a batch of sweet empanadas with that dough, that dough recipe that I so longed for and wanted to learn all about it. And I did. I came home from Mexico, just off the plane, jet lagged and all and no sooner got back into my kitchen and prepared some empanadas with what I had learned. My tia’s measurements, much like my Mom’s were never quite exact, old school cooking at it’s best! So, as I went along, I experimented with the recipe now and them. I was always happy with the results after baking the empanadas, but the dough itself just was not that easy to work with when filling and sealing.

Fresh fruit filling prepared from scratch
Fresh fruit filling prepared from scratch

Finally, just a few weeks ago, I experimenting one more time. This is it! I love the results of this dough. You still have to be gentle when handling it, but it works much better. I had less cracks while it was baking and they stayed intact. I make it sound like all the other tries simply fell apart, lol! They didn’t, but they just did not look as nice as my tia’s empanadas. They were beautiful even before I baked them.

I was never completely convinced about the empanada dough recipe I had learned a couple of years back, so I kept trying until I found one that I was very happy with!
I was never completely convinced about the empanada dough recipe I had learned a couple of years back, so I kept trying until I developed one that I was very happy with!

Revised Empanada Dough Recipe

*For Sweet Baked Empanadas

Ingredients

3 cups bread flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
~~~~
1/2 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup shortening
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup water
1/2 cup fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

You will also need
3 cups of filling. It should be thick and not runny at all.
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

This is my newest mix for empanada filling. Fresh pineapple, tart apples and toasted unsweetened coconut. Tasty!!
This is my newest mix for empanada filling. Fresh pineapple, tart apples and toasted unsweetened coconut. Tasty!!

Pineapple, Apple and Toasted Coconut Filling

4 cups pineapple, finely diced
2 cups tart apple, finely diced
1 cup brown sugar or piloncillo
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
* make a slurry of cornstarch and water. Mix until smooth.

Directions For Filling

Add all of the ingredients to a skillet, minus the cornstarch and water. Heat to medium. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for a good 40 to 50 minutes. Taste for sugar along the way. Once it has broken down and reduced, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook for 5 more minutes.  You know your filling is thick enough when you can run a spatula down the center of pan and it stays on either side of pan without running back to the middle. Remove from heat and let cool. This recipe is enough for about 40 small empanadas more or less. Freeze leftover filling in a heavy freezer bag.

*You can use this same formula to make the filling using a variety of fresh fruits, such as mango, pears, blueberries, raspberries….. You can search my blog for different variations to empanada recipes.

I really enjoy mixing in different fruits to create a new flavor.
I really enjoy mixing in different fruits to create a new flavor. Pineapple, Apple and Toasted Coconut.

 

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to visit with my family in Mexico a few years back. I was able to re-discover some of my Mom's recipes which are family recipes.
I thank God for giving me the opportunity to visit with my family in Mexico a few years back. I was able to re-discover some of my Mom’s recipes which are family recipes.

Directions For Empanada Dough

1. Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add 1 cup shortening and work in with hands or pastry cutter until you have small crumbles.

2. Heat the water for 3 minutes in the microwave. Add the sugar and anise seeds, stir until sugar has dissolved. To the flour mixture, mix in the egg until well incorporated. Gradually add in the water mixture  a little at a time until dough forms. You may not end up using all of the water. If it seems too dry, add a little more water as you knead dough for 5 minutes.

3. When ready, roll 24 dough balls. Place in bowl or on a plate, cover and let set for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Line a tortilla presse with a plastic storgae bag, cut down to size.

5. Before pressing dough ball, knead it for about 30 seconds and shape it back into a flat disc. Press one disc at a time to a 3 1/2 to 4 in circle. The edges will look slightly jagged. Fill with  about 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold over, pinch edge and fold over. Do not over fill.  Do this all the way over the opening to seal. Bake for 30 minutes, then place under broiler to brown the tops a little. Just about 1 minute. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute. While they are still warm, gently dredge through cinnamon/sugar mix. Yields 24 small empanadas.

This version of dough was alittle easier to work with as far as molding and sealing the edges.
This version of dough was alittle easier to work with as far as molding and sealing the edges.

Piña-Fresh Pineapple~ Sweet and Savory Recipes

I am sure you knew that eventually there would be a blog post about one of my favorite subjects. Piña, Pineapple! I grew up enjoying fresh pineapple. I loved it as a kid and I love it even more as an adult. It is always on my weekly grocery list of must haves. Pineapples are a great source of vitamin C and filled with antioxidants to boost your immune system. Besides the health benefits, fresh pineapples can be used to prepare both sweet and savory recipes. Included in this blog post are a few of my favorite recipes with fresh pineapple as the main ingredient. Check out the promotion from Del Monte Gold for Gold Treasure Hunt at the end of this post for a chance to win a whole pound of 24K gold. To participate and enter at the links  provided below, at the end of this blog post.
 
Empanadas de Piña (Pineapple Handpies)
These perfect little empanadas filled with homemade pineapple filling is a family recipe that was shared with me by my Tía Minerva. On my last trip to Mexico, in 2011, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a whole month with her. We cooked together and she told me stories of my grandparents and their life together that I had never known. These family recipes hold a very special place in my heart.
 
Yields 24 small empanadas
Empanadas de Piña Dredged in Cinnamon and Sugar
Empanadas de Piña Dredged in Cinnamon and Sugar
For Dough
3½ cups flour
1¼ cups shortening
½ cup water
½ teaspoon anise seeds
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for dusting
 
For Pineapple Filling
2 cups finely chopped, fresh pineapple
¾ cup or to taste, dark brown sugar or piloncillo, if available
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup cold water

1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
Cooking with Fresh Pineapple
Cooking with Fresh Pineapple
Cooking the pineapple low and slow until most of the liquid is absorbed and it becomes thick.
Cooking the pineapple low and slow until most of the liquid is absorbed and it becomes thick.

 

Directions: 

1. Combine the anise seeds, cinnamon stick, and ½ cup of water.  Heat  (cook) in the microwave for 1½ minutes, strain and set aside. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, add the tea and stir gently stir. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need to add a little more flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest.

2. While the dough is resting, make your pineapple filling. In a large nonstick skillet, add the fresh pineapple and heat to medium heat. Add the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, stir well to combine. Lower the heat and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. In a small bowl, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water. Mix together, making sure there are no lumps. Add the slurry to the cooking pineapple, stir well and stir often so it does not burn. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Let filling cool.
3. When filling is cool and dough has rested, form  20 to 24 (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 wax paper, fill with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold over, and using a fork, or your fingers, press edges together to seal empanada.

4. Transfer empanadas to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. While still slightly warm, roll in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Yields 24 small empanadas. 

Pineapple Handpies-Empanadas de Piña made with Fresh Pineapple.
Pineapple Handpies-Empanadas de Piña made with Fresh Pineapple.

 

Tips~ I like to place the empanadas under the broiler just long enough to brown the tops of the empanadas before removing from oven.

 

La Piña en La Cocina
La Piña en La Cocina
Tarta de Piña (Rustic Pineapple and Chocolate Tart)
Tarta de Piña-Rustic Pineapple Chocolate Tart
Tarta de Piña-Rustic Pineapple Chocolate Tart

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1¼ cups shortening
6 ounces of light beer, cold
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons of water
1 cup dulce de leche “La Lechera” brand
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1½ cups fresh pineapple, diced
¾ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar (turbinado)

Tarta de Piña-Rustic Pineapple Chocolate Tart
Tarta de Piña-Rustic Pineapple Chocolate Tart

Directions:


1. In a glass bowl, melt the shortening in the microwave, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the cold beer and salt, stir gently. Gradually add in the flour until the dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.


2. After an hour, preheat oven to 395ºF. On a flat surface dusted with flour, roll out the dough, about 14 inches round. Transfer the dough onto a large baking sheet.


3. Spread the dulce de leche, leaving a 1-inch rim around; add the chocolate chips, pineapple and gently spread the apricot preserves to cover. Fold up the rim towards the inside of tart. Brush the exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle the cane sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing and serving. Can be cut into 6 to 8 slices.

La Piña en La Cocina
La Piña en La Cocina

 

Tacos Con Sabor Al Pastor

Con Sabor Al Pastor
Con Sabor Al Pastor

 

For The Pork

4 to 4½ pounds pork butt, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (boneless pork)
1 cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
1 tablespoon chile ancho powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
½ tablespoon oregano, crushed
½ tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

 

For Chile sauce:
2 oz annatto paste
4 chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
2 chipotles in adobo
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 teaspoons oregano, crushed
1 tablespoon Knorr chicken bouillon (powder)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper

Con Sabor Al Pastor
Con Sabor Al Pastor

Directions:

1. Combine all the dry spices and season the pork evenly. In a large pan, heat the oil to medium/high heat, add the seasoned pork to the hot oil, and cook until all sides of the meat are seared well.

2. Transfer the ancho peppers to a glass bowl, cover with water and cook in the microwave 6 to 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, set aside. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce into the blender. Drain the chile anchos and add them as well. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt.

3. Add the fresh pineapple and sauce from the blender to the pork, stir well to combine. Once it come to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook, stirring often, for a good 2½ hours or until pork is tender. Taste for salt and add a little water if it gets too dry. Serve as-is, with rice and beans, and warm tortillas. Garnish with guacamole, salsa, diced onions and cilantro. Yields up to 8  servings.

Note: This does make a lot of pork if you are just making tacos, so you could cut the recipe in half if it is for a smaller family, or you can freeze the leftovers, once completely cooled. The pork will cook down slightly.

Tacos Con Sabor Al Pastor
Tacos Con Sabor Al Pastor
La Piña en La Cocina
La Piña en La Cocina

 

Blackened Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa 

Blackened Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
Blackened Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

Note: This recipe can be prepared in your kitchen with a large griddle for the stove top. If the weather is suitable, you can do it on an outdoor grill as well.

 For the Shrimp:

1 pound uncooked shrimp, cleaned with tails on
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought dry rub
Olive oil
Lemon wedges

For the Pineapple Salsa:
2 cups fresh pineapple, finely diced
1 Habanero pepper, minced
1 red cherry pepper, minced, optional
1/3 cup diced white onion
7 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Cooked Pineapple Habanero Salsa
Cooked Pineapple Habanero Salsa
Directions:1. Start by prepping the shrimp. Take a couple of paper towels and press down lightly onto shrimp to release excess moisture. Season lightly with salt, then add your dry rub, making sure all shrimp is covered. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.2. For pineapple salsa, in a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring so it does not burn. Add the peppers and cook for 1 more minute. Add the remaining ingredients, 1 teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Lower the heat and let it cook down for a few minutes. Taste for salt. Transfer to a dish and let it cool at room temperature. If not using right away, chill in the refrigerator.

3. To cook the shrimp, I like using a large griddle that covers both the front and back burner on the stove top. But, you could also skewer and grill the shrimp, just make sure you brush it with oil before you grill it. If cooking on the stove top, preheat the griddle to medium heat for a few minutes. Drizzle olive oil to cover evenly. Lay the shrimp, but do not overcrowd or it will steam and not blacken. Cook for just 2 minutes per side or when shrimp turns pink. Transfer to bowl and cover to keep warm.

4. Serve as-is with lemon/lime wedges as an appetizer or with warm corn tortillas for tacos. I served it with some shredded cabbage, radishes, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, that was lightly seasoned in a little rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Blackened Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
Blackened Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
 
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Del Monte Gold for Gold
Del Monte Gold for Gold

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