Empanada Pastry

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic Updated
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Empanada pastry is easy to make! Try this simple recipe and don't miss our tips for creating perfect empanadas that won't leak when you cook them!

We love empanadas! You can fill them with just about anything you enjoy - including buffalo chicken and even pizza! - and they are a great way to use up leftover meats and vegetables. Empanada translates to 'enbreaded' (wrapped in bread) - and whilst pre-made empanada discs are quick and easy to use, it's actually not that hard to prepare your own empanada pastry. 

Plus, of course, anything you make at home will taste so much better than the store-bought variety!

Pizza Empanadas Photo

The perfect empanada pastry

Empanada pastry should have a tender texture which will absorb the moisture of the contents, without becoming soggy. It should also have a hint of sweetness. The contrast between the sweet and savory flavors is a real treat for the taste buds and part of what makes these tasty snacks so irresistible.

There are a few secrets to making a successful pastry that tastes great and holds together throughout cooking, with no leaks!

Pizza Empanadas Picture
  1. Let the dough rest - ideally overnight. It becomes less stretchy and is easier to work with. We also recommend chilling the filling thoroughly too - it's easier to spoon neatly into the pastry circles when cold and 'set'.
  2. You should also let the pastry rest for at least 10 minutes once you've rolled it out, before you cut it. This will stop the circles from shrinking.
  3. Aim for the perfect thickness! Large empanadas will need a slightly thicker dough, whereas the dough for smaller empanadas only needs to be around 1/4 " thick.
  4. Use just the right amount of filling. Too much, and it will ooze out as it cooks.
  5. Seal the edges properly. Take time over this step, as it's the key to preventing messy leaks!
Pizza Empanadas Image

Recipe for empanada pastry (or dough)

This recipe works best for baked empanadas. If you plan on frying them, it just needs a little adapatation! Simply leave out the egg yolk and roll the dough out more thinly (to a thickness of less than 1/4 ").

Pizza Empanadas Pic

4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter (straight from the fridge)

12 tablespoons of lard or vegetable shortening

3/4 to 1 cup water

2 egg yolks

Buffalo Chicken Empanadas Pic
  1. Mix the butter and lard/shortening with the flour until well blended. To do this, you can either rub between the fingertips, use 2 knives or a pastry cutter.
  2. Add the egg yolks to 3/4 cup of water and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of the egg/water mixture to the flour and knead together. 
  4. Continue adding the liquid and kneading, until the dough is smooth. If it seems too dry once all the liquid has been added, then use a few extra tablespoons of water.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and chill (preferably overnight) until ready to use.
Guava Cheese Empanadas Pic

To seal empanadas once filled...

  1. Dip your finger in water.
  2. Run it all around the edge of the circle of pastry (note: make sure none of the filling is touching this outer circle or the pastry won't seal).
  3. Fold the circle over and press the edges firmly together.
  4. Press with the tines of a fork all the way along the sealed edge. This helps it stay together and looks nice too!

Now your pastry is ready, why not use it to make these gorgeous Guava Cheese Empanadas!

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