Growing up in the Southwest I was exposed to so many wonderful food and cultural experiences like Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) and delicious authentic Mexican food. One of my favorite pastries that I love to get this time of year are empanadas. They are cute little personalized pies that come in savory or sweet options and are always fun to have on a Sunday morning with your coffee. To celebrate one of my favorite seasons and one of my favorite Mexican pastries – I made these pumpkin empanadas.
These puppies are DEE-licious and will make you want to put on your most comfy (stretchy) pajamas, sit on the patio, and enjoy the weather.
**Basic Empanada Dough
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup palm oil shortening
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 envelope)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
**Pumpkin Spice Filling
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. milk
In a saucepan bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and add butter and shortening. Let the mixture sit until melted (10 -15 minutes until 105 F). Stir in yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the well and mix until a ball forms (add additional flour if needed).
Put dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Add in remaining flour while kneading.
Put the ball of dough in a buttered bowl. Turn the ball over once so that there is a thin coating on top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut the dough into quarters. Roll out a section at a time on a floured surface. Using a round biscuit cutter cut dough into circles. Each section will make 6 circles. Lay out circles on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet. Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the filling into the center of the circle. Brush the egg wash on the edges of the dough. Fold over and seal edges closed with a fork or pinch closed using your thumb and pointer finger.
Transfer empanadas to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the top with a fork or skewer 2 or 3 times. Bake for 15-18 minutes. For a golden brown crust, bake for 8-10 minutes and then brush the remaining egg wash on the tops of the half-baked pastries then bake for the remaining 7-8 minutes.
Pumpkin Spice Filling
In a saucepan combine the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and kosher salt and cook over medium-low heat.
Cook on medium-low heat until sugar is melted. Uncover and let simmer until filling is very thick (about 15 minutes).
Transfer to a cool bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Recipe adapted from the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens