Welcome to my empanada world. I recently became obsessed with learning to make them, curled seal and all. The good news is, I tested the recipe three times (that’s over 100 empanadas over 3 days… and none are left over), so if you stick with me you can easily develop an empanada obsession, too…
Empanadas are a South American snack, and each country and region has their version and specialty. What I love about them is how easy it is to adapt a filling – whether sweet, or savory. I filled them with mushrooms, onions and lots of black pepper, then with mashed potatoes, onion and ricotta (sooo goood), and finally, I made a sweet version with bananas, ricotta and apricot jam. Really, making the dough from scratch is the only thing to learn, the rest – super easy.
The braided fold, of course, is not necessary. You can easily seal the dough with a fork. However, if you look below, it’s surprisingly easy to make the curled seal, and here are the other tips:
- Stick to the recipe and don’t substitute olive oil for the butter. The flavor and texture will not be the same.
- Rest the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes – it will become much more elastic and easier to work with.
- If you have a pasta maker, use it to roll the dough into paper-thin sheets – it saves so much energy!
- Don’t overfill your empanadas.
- Cover your dough immediately with plastic wrap, including what you’re working on. It dries out very quickly.
- Make the empanada edges long enough to allow easy folding.
- Make sure you use the egg wash to seal any exposed areas – this will give you the nice glossy crust.
It takes about 40 minutes to bake the empanadas until golden – if you make larger ones, allow more time. Cutting the rounds for empanadas works best with a pastry cutter, as the dough will be elastic and paper thin.
This recipe is specifically made for baking – frying requires slight changes, like adding baking powder. I hope to test this out in the future. The texture of these empanadas is light and flaky – and you can smell the wonderful scent of butter, a bit like fresh croissants…
The dough we use here can be used for both sweet and savory empanadas – the only difference I made here is to fill them with a sweet filling and sprinkle sugar on top.
The filling I use is a mixture of mashed bananas and ricotta cheese. It does not require pre-cooking, and you can easily make more if you decide to make more empanadas 🙂
- 5 large bananas, diced into small squares
- 1 cup ricotta
- cinnamon, to taste
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- approx. 5 tbs water, or enough to make pliable dough
- To make the filling, combine the diced bananas, ricotta, cinnamon and apricot jam, then set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- To make the dough, add the flour, salt, butter, and egg in to a food processor, and mix on medium until combined. Add the water and mix again, the mixture will be crumbly and sandy. Turn off the food processor, and take a little bit of the mixture into your fingers and press - if it sticks together, it's ready to start being kneaded, if not, add a little bit more water. Take out of the food processor, and knead by hand - aim to have the dough form a ball, but not feel moist, or sticky. Knead for 2 minutes, then cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
- Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas, immediately covering unused areas with plastic wrap. If you have a pasta maker, roll out individual sheets of dough and cover.
- Add a small spoonful of the filling into the middle of the disc, then seal the edges by pressing with your fingers. Follow the photo instructions above to make the curled seal, otherwise, you can crimp the edges with a fork.
- Brush with an egg white, then sprinkle with white sugar and bake on a parchment sheet for 45 minutes, or until golden.
Adapted From Laylita’s Recipes