Dos Empanadas for Cinco de Mayo

Dos Empanadas for Cinco de Mayo

So I’ve been told by Mexican friends that Cinco de Mayo, like St. Patrick’s Day and Hanukkah, is celebrated more…vociferously…in the US than in its home country.  It commemorates the winning of an important battle, not Mexican independence, and isn’t really a major holiday.  In the US, of course, we like any excuse to eat (and drink) a lot, so Cinco de Mayo is becoming a bigger and bigger holiday every year.  Not gonna argue with that, especially if I get to eat special foods like tamales or empanadas! 😉

Empanadas aren’t just native to Mexico.  They are in many countries in Latin America, Spain, Europe, and Asia. With many names, such as pasties, hand pies, pastelitos, calzones, baos, and even Hot Pockets, the idea of a pastry-wrapped sweet or savory filling is fairly global.  They are not difficult to make, although owing to the nature of filling and crimping many tiny pies instead of one large pie, they tend to be something people eat on holidays (or just purchase; yay capitalism!).  However, on this Cinco de Mayo, I suggest you haul out your biscuit cutter and spend a bit of extra time making these hand-sized tasty treats — you won’t be sorry!

Don’t forget to scroll down for the dessert empanadas! 😉

Black Bean and Corn Empanadas
Yields 18
Vegetarian empanadas
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261 calories
26 g
75 g
14 g
7 g
8 g
106 g
564 g
1 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
106g
Yields
18
Amount Per Serving
Calories 261
Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
22%
Saturated Fat 8g
40%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 75mg
25%
Sodium 564mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
13%
Vitamin C
16%
Calcium
7%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dough
  1. 4 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3 tsp salt
  3. 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2/3 cup ice water (put water in a larger bowl and put a few ice cubes in it)
  6. 2 TBS white vinegar (or tequila -- any hard liquor will work)
Filling
  1. 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  2. 1 bag of frozen corn
  3. 1 TBS olive oil
  4. 1 large onion, diced
  5. 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or) 2-3 small zucchini
  7. 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
  8. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or use the stuff from the tube)
  9. 5 oz. Cotija cheese (soft farmer's cheese; you can substitute another soft cheese, like Feta or Ricotta, if your store doesn't carry the Mexican cheeses -- Cheddar would work too)
  10. salt and black pepper to taste
Assembly
  1. 2 eggs, beaten (or 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk)
Dough
  1. Measure flour and salt into a large bowl and mix. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture is sandy, with some larger lumps of butter. Beat eggs, water, and vinegar or tequila (not both!) together in a smaller bowl. Add to the flour mixture, stirring lightly with a fork to gather together. When it has formed a shaggy dough, turn it out onto a piece of Saran Wrap (about 9x13) and gather into a mass (you can also do this in the bowl). Wrap tightly, flatten into a disk, and chill for an hour.
Filling
  1. Put rinsed beans in a large bowl.
  2. In a dry medium pan, pour in the corn (with no oil) and heat on high. Stir frequently to blacken the corn. (Trader Joe's sells blackened corn if you want to skip this step.) Pour into the bowl with the beans.
  3. Turn down the heat to less than medium, let the pan cool a bit, and add the olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic briefly till they begin to color, and then add tomatoes (or zucchini) and chopped pepper. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and soft. Pour into the bowl with the other vegetables. Add the chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool slightly.
Assembly
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. On a lightly-floured surface (I use a sugar shaker to cover evenly with flour), roll out about half the dough to about 1/8" thick. Use a 4", 5", or 6" biscuit cutter, depending on what you have. You won't have as many empanadas with the larger size, but they will, of course, be bigger. 🙂 Continue cutting rounds, re-rolling and adding more dough as needed until you have rolled out all you can. I got 24, but I used a 4" cutter.
  3. Lay out the circles on a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet. They can touch. Take a spoon and put around a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough. Obviously, use more with larger circles. Using a pastry brush, paint half the edge with the beaten egg mixture. Fold the circle in half, tucking the filling in so it doesn't get into the egg. Press down on the edges to seal, and crimp with a fork. Repeat, using another cookie sheet, until all the dough is used. You may have some filling left over, so just eat it later 🙂
  4. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash. Place the sheet (s) on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. The empanadas should be golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with more Cotija cheese, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, or just on their own! A couple make a great lunch, with a sweet apple one to finish! 😉
Notes
  1. The filling should be moist but not wet; make sure to drain the beans!
  2. The smaller the dice, the easier it will be to get the veggies in. Half tomatoes were ok, because they cooked down, but bigger pieces of onion and pepper can cause a problem.
  3. Don't over-fill the pies. 🙂 You can make them nice and fat, but they need to stay closed!
  4. If you don't want to make your own dough, you can use pie dough or (thawed) puff pastry. It does need to be rolled to 1/8", or you will have lots of dough and no filling.
  5. You can freeze dough circles or even uncooked empanadas and bake them later. If you bake frozen empanadas, just give them 5-10 minutes extra in the oven.
beta
calories
261
fat
14g
protein
7g
carbs
26g
more
The Copper Lemon http://thecopperlemon.com/
Apple Pie Empanadas | thecopperlemon.com

Now, if you are like me and are a glutton for punishment (or a sucker for small hand-held treats), you can also make apple empanadas! (Or, you can skip the savory ones, eat some tacos, and go for the dessert right away!)  Apple empanadas are basically apple pie in a hand size.  These aren’t particularly Mexican or not Mexican, although Mexican empanadas often tend to be sweet.  The dough is the same as the savory dough, with the addition of some cinnamon and sugar.

Apple Pie Empanadas
Yields 18
Cinnamony-sweet apple pie in your hand!
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250 calories
32 g
68 g
12 g
5 g
7 g
107 g
412 g
7 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
107g
Yields
18
Amount Per Serving
Calories 250
Calories from Fat 103
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
18%
Saturated Fat 7g
34%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 68mg
23%
Sodium 412mg
17%
Total Carbohydrates 32g
11%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 7g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
2%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dough
  1. 4 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3 tsp salt
  3. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1 TBS sugar
  5. 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2/3 cup ice water (put water in a larger bowl and put a few ice cubes in it)
  8. 2 TBS white vinegar (or tequila -- any hard liquor will work)
Filling
  1. 3 large apples, diced (I used Honeycrisp)
  2. 1 - 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  3. 2-3 TBS brown sugar (more for tart apples)
  4. a splash of lemon juice if you like
Assembly
  1. 2 eggs, beaten (or 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk)
Dough
  1. Measure flour and salt into a large bowl and mix. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture is sandy, with some larger lumps of butter. Beat eggs, water, and vinegar or tequila (not both!) together in a smaller bowl. Add to the flour mixture, stirring lightly with a fork to gather together. When it has formed a shaggy dough, turn it out onto a piece of Saran Wrap (about 9x13) and gather into a mass (you can also do this in the bowl). Wrap tightly, flatten into a disk, and chill for an hour.
Filling
  1. Place apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, if using, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes, until apples have begun to soften. Strain the excess liquid. Let cool enough to handle.
Assembly
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. On a lightly-floured surface (I use a sugar shaker to cover evenly with flour), roll out about half the dough to about 1/8" thick. Use a 4", 5", or 6" biscuit cutter, depending on what you have. You won't have as many empanadas with the larger size, but they will, of course, be bigger. 🙂 Continue cutting rounds, re-rolling and adding more dough as needed until you have rolled out all you can. I got 24, but I used a 4" cutter.
  3. Lay out the circles on a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet. They can touch. Take a spoon and put around a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough. Obviously, use more with larger circles. Using a pastry brush, paint half the edge with the beaten egg mixture. Fold the circle in half, tucking the filling in so it doesn't get into the egg. Press down on the edges to seal, and crimp with a fork. Repeat, using another cookie sheet, until all the dough is used. You may have some filling left over, so just eat it later 🙂
  4. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash. Place the sheet (s) on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. The empanadas should be golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and more cinnamon, if you like. You could even sneak in some ice cream or chocolate sauce, if that's how you roll. 😉
Notes
  1. The filling should be moist but not wet; make sure to drain the apples! Mine look a little dry in the photo because I didn't parcook the apples. It made it harder not to tear the dough when I was trying to close them, as well.
  2. The smaller the dice, the easier it will be to get the apples in.
  3. Don't over-fill the pies. 🙂 You can make them nice and fat, but they need to stay closed!
  4. If you don't want to make your own dough, you can use pie dough or (thawed) puff pastry. It does need to be rolled to 1/8", or you will have lots of dough and no filling.
  5. You can freeze dough circles or even uncooked empanadas and bake them later. If you bake frozen empanadas, just give them 5-10 minutes extra in the oven.
beta
calories
250
fat
12g
protein
5g
carbs
32g
more
The Copper Lemon http://thecopperlemon.com/
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