This authentic baked empanada recipe comes from a traditional Mexican-American chef who has perfected her technique over the course of 50+ years. Try these dessert empanadas with pumpkin filling as shown, or substitute your favorite fruit for any occasion. The empanada dough recipe is extremely versatile if you'd like to experiment with other fillings.
If using traditional brown sugar cane (piloncillo), you'll need to break it into smaller chunks with a mallet.
Pour 1 cup of water into saucepan and add 3 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of anise seeds and piloncillo (or dark brown sugar). Bring to a slow boil.
Let boil for about 5 minutes and turn off heat. Let steep until lukewarm. Then, strain the mixture and preserve the liquid.
Empanada Dough Recipe
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients except for yeast (flour, salt, and baking powder).
Create yeast paste: Separately, crumble 1 cube of cake yeast (0.6 ounces) with a small amount of flour and blend together with fingers until it creates a thick paste.
In a separate bowl, mix sugar and shortening with hand mixer until well blended.
Add yeast paste to the sugar and shortening mixture. Then, add 4 ounces of the spice tea. Continue to mix.
Gradually add in the flour mixture, and continue mixing to make a soft dough until it is not too sticky to the touch.
Cover dough with a soft tea towel until ready to use.
Pumpkin Empanada Filling Recipe
Add sugar and cinnamon to pumpkin pie filling and blend with a spoon.
Make the empanada turnovers
Divide dough into small balls, then roll out the dough into 5-inch circles.
Place about 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin filling into bottom-middle half of empanada leaving enough room to crimp edges and seal pocket.
Fold over top half and press the edges together well.
Transfer to a greased baking sheet and pierce tops of empanadas 2-3 times with a fork to create vent holes.
Cover with a tea towel and let rise 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
7.Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. (You may also choose to bake the empanadas at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes if pressed for time.)
Cake yeast is not as widely available as dry yeast and must remain refrigerated until ready to use. For this reason, you may choose to use dry yeast instead. To create your yeast paste, moisten 1 packet (1/4 ounce) of dry yeast with 1 tablespoon or less of warm water, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, mix it with the sugar and shortening mixture and continue the recipe.