Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Empanadas


With Día de Los Muertos just around the corner, I wanted to share with you another recipe that is dear to my heart. There are seriously SO many wonderful and delicious recipes that are traditionally made for this holiday, so I actually had a hard time picking only three to share with you. If you missed my first recipe, be sure to check it out here. Now, for my second recipe I made empanadas filled with a spiced pumpkin and cream cheese filling. Sounds good, right? But I mean, seriously, who doesn’t just love empanadas? The only way I could image someone not liking these is if they never tried one before, in which case I say you should head into the kitchen now and whip up a batch because they really are that delicious. To give you an idea, empanadas are basically theses buttery and ever-so flaky pastry pockets, which are traditionally stuffed with either a sweet or savory filling. My memories of my first empanada takes me back to when I was a little girl. My mom and I were in Mexico, and I was begging her for some candy, and instead of giving me what I wanted, she handed me my first empanada, and I have been hooked on these things ever since.

These empanadas are filled with the flavors of Fall; pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a healthy serving of tangy cream cheese. Eating one of these pretty much tastes like you are biting into fall; so if that sounds good to you, then you have to make these. I ended up using 2 types of Zulka sugar for this recipe. I used the pure cane sugar for the crust and the brown sugar for the filling. I love that Zulka has a few different choices when it comes to sugar, because each types plays a different role when used in this recipe. In addition to that, since Zulka’s sugar in unrefined, it means their sugar is more flavorful than refined sugar, which means better tasting baked goods. So next time you’re in the market, I highly suggest you grab a bag and taste the difference for yourself.

Keep in mind that you can essentially fill these empanadas with whatever you like, so if this is a holiday you celebrate, I hope you can use this recipe in a way that honors your loved ones in your own special way.


PUMPKIN & CREAM CHEESE FILLING 

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg room temperature, room temperature

4 tablespoons brown sugar


METHOD

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth, set aside.


DOUGH

Yields 16

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/2 cup water, very cold

1 1/2 tablespoon pure cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Equipment: Rolling Pin, Baking Sheet, Parchment Paper, Pastry Brush, large Bowl, whisk, 4” biscuit cutter


METHOD

Place the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together to combine. Add the cubed butter to the bowl and using your hands, quickly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of small peas.Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cold water over the mixture and fluff using two forks. Continue this process, one tablespoon at a time, until 5 tablespoons have been added.

If dough seems a bit dry, sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time until the dough resembles shaggy crumbs.Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead a few times until it comes together. Dived the dough into two pieces, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Remove 1 piece of dough from refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes before rolling it out. Dust your work surface generously with flour and roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.

Using a 4’’ biscuit cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut out 8 dough rounds. Place rounds in the refrigerator and repeat this process with the second half of the dough. Fill each cut out with 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin filling. One at a time, run a moistened finger along the edges of the dough and careful fold shut, pushing gently on the edges to seal. Use a fork to crease the edges of the empanada.

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Once chilled, remove from freezer and brush each one with the egg wash. Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle a generous amount over each empanada. Place in the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Enjoy empanadas once slightly cooled.