I'm a native Texan with a passion for good food and Texas history. Tex-Mex is a way of life for me, and so is baking!
Who doesn’t love a pumpkin empanada? Or an empanada of any kind, for that matter? Call it what you will: pasty, pocket, pie, or kolache, pastry enclosed pockets of food have been around probably almost as long as bread has. There’s not a single cuisine I can think of that doesn’t have some riff on a pastry pocket filled with meat, veg, or fruit.
The word empanada comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Now that your language lesson is over, let’s talk about the eats!
Where I come from, empanadas usually get filled with cumin infused meat, onions and potatoes, or maybe cactus. Yes, you heard me right, cactus. Nopalitos are tasty, y’all. Wanting to offer up something a bit more Autumnal (I just love that word), I started trolling through the Texas Monthly Food pages for something intriguing. That’s when I happened upon Pumpkin Empanadas and knew they’d be happening STAT.
I’m kind of loving that the dough has cinnamon incorporated, allowing the Fall flavors to carry right through from outer to inner. I had one of these for breakfast this morning. They’re just on that line between savory and sweet that it’s totally appropriate to do so.
Do you make empanadas? Or pasties or pockets? What do you call them? And what are your favorites?
Taken from Feb 2000 issue of Texas Monthly
makes 16 empanadas
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and mix well to combine. Set aside.
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4-ounce packages dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups flour, divided in half
generous 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
Heat oven to 350F. Combine sugar, salt, yeast, baking powder, and cinnamon in mixing bowl and mix well. Add water. Using an electric mixer, mix thoroughly. Then, gradually add in half of the flour, stirring slowly. Add shortening and mix thoroughly. Slowly blend in the remaining flour.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts, and shape each part into a ball. Slap dough between well-floured hands until slightly flattened, and then roll out onto a floured surface to approximately 1/8″ thick. Using a large biscuit cutter or tupperware lid, make circles approximately 4 inches in diameter. You should get roughly 4 circles from each ‘part’.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle. Fold over, pressing the edges to seal, first with your finger. Go over edge again with a salad fork to make decorative marks and fully seal.
If desired, brush with butter or egg white, and sprinkle with more sugar.
Bake on a parchment lined baking tray until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Be sure to watch closely, they can burn fast.