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!
The post is recently update with some new photos! My goal was to achieve the look of the soft empanadas de calabaza(Pumpkin Empanadas) traditional sold at the Mexican bakery. It had been a while since I revisited this recipe, so it was time to update it. Especially since I have my stand mixer now! Check out the notes on the recipe for the stand mixer directions.
Rolling out the dough balls so they resemble an oblong shape is what I need to achieve “La Panaderia” look! Right below are the links to find the recipes for both the pumpkin and pineapple filling.
Pumpkin Filling (Relleno de Calabaza)
Pineapple Filling (Relleno de Piña)
There is no need to brush the inside edges with egg or water for them to stick securely. As long as you have a nice and thick filling they should be fine. Dulce the leche caramel or cajeta boils to quickly for these and will leak out. One way to prevent it is to mix in some egg yolk to the caramel. But then it changes the texture of the caramel as it bakes. Some people freeze or refrigerate the filled caramel empandas to prevent this from happening, but it does’t always work.
Piloncillo y Canela -Masa Para Empanadas(Empanada Dough)
Achieve La Panaderia-style Mexican empanadas! A soft yeast dough sweetened with piloncillo(or brown sugar) and freshly grated Mexican cinnamon.
- 4 cups bread flour sifted, plus more for later
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cups warm milk at least 110 degrees F
- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until you have small crumbles. Cut in the piloncillo sugar and yeast until well incorporated.
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. If dough is too dry, add a little more milk. If it's too sticky, mix in a little more flour. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- 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.
Leave as is or you can pinch and fold over to seal. Repeat until done and transfer onto lined baking sheets. Brush the tops of empanadas with milk. Bake for 20-22 minutes on the middle rack until golden brown. For a darker brown, turn broiler on high for less than one minute. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Eat within a few days for fresher empanadas.
If you have a stand mixer, follow the recipe as written. I use the paddle attachment and mix on low or medium/low speed most of the time. After all the milk is added and dough is very sticky, set timer for 8 minutes and continue mixing on low. This will build up the gluten in the dough making it more flexible. After that it will still be real sticky, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of flour at a time, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Follow directions for proofing and finishing empanadas.
The photos below are from the first time I attempted the recipe. I mixed and kneaded it all by hand. I did not get that nice brown color on these because I topped them with toasted coconut.