If you stayed away from making your own empanadas because you were intimated to make your own dough, DON’Tbe afraid! After trial and error & almost giving in to prepackaged pie crust, we found a great recipe from a book titled Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America. Not only is this dough flaky and delicious, but it also compliments any filling. The next time you’re having a small gathering of friends or family, give these a try. They make a great appetizer, side or snack for any occasion. 😋
An added bonus of this recipe is that it can be made gluten-free and tastes just as terrific!
Servings: about 12 discs using a 4½” round cookie cutter
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 Tablespoons sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
8 ounces regular cream cheese, cubed & chilled
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed & chilled
1 egg beaten with a Tablespoon of water for egg wash
parchment lined baking sheet
1 ½ tsp of your favorite herb (i.e. thyme, oregano, cumin, etc. More or less to taste.)
Combine flour, sugar, herbs & salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse for 20 seconds, or until combined.
Add the cream cheese and butter and pulse until the mixture comes together and forms a ball, about 2 minutes. Remove the pastry from the food processor.
Divide the pastry ball in half.
Shape each half into a flat disc on plastic wrap, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. ( Can be refrigerated up to 48 hours before rolling out).
Remove from refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes before rolling out.
Using a well-floured pastry mat or surface and a well floured rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 1/8″ thickness. Keep your surface & rolling pin lightly floured to prevent sticking & tears in the dough.
Using a 4″ to 4½” round cookie cutter or bowl, cut 12 rounds, rolling & cutting the scraps as needed. ( Keep scraps covered while working).
Place 2 level Tablespoons of filling on the bottom half of each pastry round.
Brush the edges with egg wash & fold over to form a half moon.
Seal the edges of the empanada with your finger using your thumb or forefinger to look somewhat scalloped.
Transfer the empanadas to the baking sheet & chill uncovered 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400º F, brush the empanada tops with egg wash.
Bake 12-15 minutes until golden, halfway through baking rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking.
Remove from oven when done & let rest 3-5 minutes before serving. Best served warm.
Empanadas are little hand-held pies that can be served as an appetizer, lunch or dessert depending on the size and filling. Traditional empanadas are shaped like half moons. We were inspired by the upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day so we shaped ours into hearts that you can enjoy with your special someone. ❤
These empanadas smelled so good while they were baking, for a moment we thought we were walking down a street in Argentina! We could hardly wait to eat them. They are filled with a delicious combination of meat, vegetable & cheese.
Servings: 6-8 (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. We used a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped)
Sauté onion & garlic in EVOO on medium-low until soft & lightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add oregano & cumin. Stir another minute.
Turn heat up to medium and add spinach, cook, stirring until spinach is wilted & soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & let cool. Season with salt & pepper.
Put bulk sausage in skillet, Cook and brown while breaking up into smaller pieces until done.
Remove from heat and spoon sausage meat onto paper towels removing as much fat/grease as possible. Do not clean skillet at this time, keep sausage fat in skillet.
Add flour to the skillet and whisk the milk gradually until mixture is smooth.
Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs. Return to heat and cook, stirring until mixture comes to another boil and thickens, the sauce will be a paste consistency.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Chop the cooled spinach, onion & garlic mixture. Add into the cheese sauce along with well-drained sausage.
Roll out the empanada dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut 2 hearts with a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped cookie cutter. Brush the edges of 1 heart lightly with egg wash.
Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in center of the heart, cover with another heart-shaped cutout. Press edges together firmly all around with thumb or forefinger forming a sort of scalloped edge. Brush with egg wash then bake about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.