Did you ever have one of those recipes that you just can’t get out of your head? This is exactly what happened with this soft dulce de leche empanada recipe. I have been baking empanadas for years and have tested so many recipes along the way.
Cajeta(Caramel) Can Be Intimidating!
If you have ever prepared empanadas filled with cajeta or dulce de leche, you may have experienced that awful moment when you see all of the cajeta leaking out of your beautifully shaped empanadas? Why? Another batch ruined. Well, they are still a tasty hollowed out version of caramel filled empanadas, lol! I have lost count on how many times I have prepared these. My most successful batch of empanadas that did not leak is when I add egg yolks to the dulce de leche(cajeta). And sure, it keeps them from leaking out, but at a price. The texture of the cajeta changes. It’s no longer that soft, creamy dulce de leche that we are used to. It’s still delicious, but just not quite the same.
Empanadas de Piña, Chef Alex Perez. Click to watch video.
Do You Follow A Chef That Inspires You? I Have Several!
For today’s version, I combined my family’s empanada dough recipe with my friend Chef Alex Perez’s dough recipe. His dough recipe for empanadas de piña (pineapple) yields a soft dough and much like what you find in the Mexican bakeries. The key to this recipe, is to not over bake the empanadas. Bake For Fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes tops! Even the last batch I baked, I let them go for almost 20 minutes and guess what? Disaster, ha, ha, ha! In my defense, I was distracted and forgot to set my timer. Lesson learned! Check out the link below to see Chef Alex Perez preparing his recipe for empanadas de piña on You Tube! Once you start watching his channel, you may be there for hours!
The Key Is Too Not Give Up!
I have watched countless videos on YouTube watching people prepare empanadas filled with cajeta, caramel. Some just add a smear of cajeta for the filling and maybe that’s why they don’t leak, lol! The sure way that they won’t leak is to mix that egg yolk with the cajeta, I promise. But, if you are like me and desire that creamy smooth cajeta, I will take a chance that they may leak out a bit, lol!
I will confess that everytime I come to the sealing of the empanadas, I really taking my time. Be patient. Or you can use a fork to gently seal.
The empanadas rolled in canela(cinnamon) and sugar are the ones I remember the most from home. And freshly ground Mexican canela, there is nothing like it!
You will have some leaking onto the pan, but it should be minimal. Don’t panic. It just may be a matter of adjusting the time or temperature. All ovens vary when it comes to baking.
After using up all of the dulce de leche, I found myself with some leftover dough. I had fresh pineapple on hand! I minced it fine, mixed in some sugar and cornstarch. It was one of the most tasty pineapple fillings. Who knew? Just know that it will release the liquids from the pineapple, so when you fill the empanada, drain off some of the liquid.
Empanadas de Cajeta Con Nuez. Dulce de Leche With Pecans. This is the recipe with the egg yolks mixed in to the dulce de leche.
Soft Dulce de Leche Empanadas
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 large egg yolk reserve the egg white
- 4 oz. milk
- 1/3 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 inch piece of Mexican canela
You Also Need
- 13-14 oz can of la lechera dulce de leche
- 1/2 cup sugar more reserved in a bowl
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground Mexican canela
- In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work in the shortening until it resembles small crumbles. Mix in the egg yolk into dough. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, add the milk, anise and cinnamon stick. Heat to medium low. Heat milk slowly so that it may be infused with some of the flavors of the anise and cinnamon. Do not let it come to a boil. If you prefer, you can skip the cinnamon and anise in the milk. I just enjoy those flavors in there.
- Mix in the 3 oz. of milk to the dough. Place the dough onto a flat surface and knead with your hands until dough comes together. It will not be perfectly smooth. If the dough feels to dry and crumbly, mix in a little more milk. Do not over mix or the empanadas will be hard. Divide the dough into 14-16 small dough balls. Cover and set aside while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. The dough balls will release some of the grease and that’s ok. Just roll it in your hands again and flatten slightly. On a lightly(very light) floured surface, roll out the dough ball to about 4 inches in diameter.
- Spoon out about 1 full tablespoon of dulce de leche. Use a second spoon to help you place the caramel onto empanada disk. Brush a light coat of egg white around one half of the inside edge of empanada. Fold over to form empanada. Gently press to remove any air and press around the edges
- Pick up empanada and fold and pinch around the edges to seal. Place onto parchment lined baking sheets. Freeze empanadas for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour. This will help keep caramel from leaking out too much.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 MINUTES. Set your timer!! Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Gently dredge and roll empanadas in the cinnamon and sugar mix. Place back onto baking sheet. Let cool completely before storing. You can store them for a couple of days.
[…] can drizzle cajeta over ice cream • you can make a milkshake with it • use it as a cookie or empanada filling • use it on tamales, • add a tablespoon to your coffee • drizzle over waffles and […]
My mother-in-law always used a bottle of pure cane sugar Coca-Cola when she made her dough, but she passed away before passing down her recipe. Have you ever made empanadas de cajeta with Coke?
Hi Wendy, I have never prepared a dough using coke, but I know it must be possible. I am going to ask some of my Mexican chef and food blogger friends and will get back to you.
Have you tried using beer instead of milk?
Actually yes Claudia. I have that family recipe for empanada dough on my blog. I have been using it for years. My family uses it mostly for pineapple empanadas, but I really like it for savory empanadas.
Can you substitute the shortening with butter instead?
You can, but the sugar and cinnamon may not stick as well when you dredge them. Tasty with butter though.
When do you add the egg yolk to the cajeta? I see that the recipe calls for only one egg, but the yolk is added to the dough.
The egg yolk is added to the dough. I revised the recipe so it’s easier to understand. I have another recipe where an egg yolk is mixed into the cajeta. This prevents the cajeta from leaking out 100 percent, but it changes the texture of the cajeta.
My Grandma she use you use beer for the dough , and they were delicious 😋
That recipe is in my family too. It’s on my blog. As well as the recipe with coca cola. Love them both.
Just a question can you prep the dough the night before you start baking? Cause I don’t have enough time to fully make them tonight but I can at least make the dough and leave it for tomorrow early morning if that’s possible?
Absolutely you can! Just make sure to let it come to room temperature so it easier to work with.
My dough was very dry. Any tips?
Hi Martha! If the dough was dry, I would suggest mixing in a little more milk until it feels smoother and not dry.