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Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas (February 28, 2017)

We're still in Mexico, and while winter here is not the winter of Toronto, it's still cool in the evenings, just the right temperature for a hot, filling empanada. We wanted more, so asked a couple of experts at Curious Cuisiniere and All Recipes, who gave us great information and recipes for this iconic Mexican dish.

Curious Cuisinere said, "You've heard of empanadas, those tasty, Latin American pastries that are often stuffed with meat, cheese, or potatoes. The name empanada comes from the Spanish word empanar, meaning 'to wrap or coat in bread'. Empanadas can be found throughout Latin America, and each country has their own unique take on the empanada dough, shape, and filling."

We've eaten a delicious variety here, and one of our favourites is the sweet, pumpkin version, a perfect finish to a good meal.

Curious Cuisinere continued, "Pumpkin empanadas are often served at Mexican-American Thanksgiving celebrations as well as for their Christmas feast. Traditional pumpkin empanadas would be made with leftover pumpkin from a caramelized pumpkin dish, like Calabaza En Tacha. (More about that later!) The sweet, caramelized pumpkin that has been stewed with warm spices is transformed into a heavenly pocked of pumpkin goodness that is encased in a hearty and crisp empanada dough."

Pumpkin Empanadas

We really liked this version by Esther Loveall Saunders at, who told us that this is "My take on a traditional pumpkin empanada! Adjust all spices to your taste."

You will love this delicious little hot pie, and we promise you won't be waiting for the holidays to enjoy! Muchas Gracias, Esther, and Buen Provecho!

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1beaten egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1½ teaspoons of salt, and baking powder together. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs; stir the water in, about 2 tablespoons at a time, just until you can gather the dough together. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl, then scrape it out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in quarters, and cut each quarter into thirds to make 12 equal portions. Roll the portions into balls. Cover the dough balls with a cloth, and allow to rest while you make the filling.
  3. Mix the pumpkin, 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together until smooth. On a floured surface, roll each dough ball out into a thin circle about 6 inches across; spoon about 1/3 cup of filling into the center of the dough circle. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon shaped pie, and crimp the edges of the crust together with a fork, leaving little fork lines in the dough. Gently lay the empanadas onto the prepared baking sheets. Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is hot and the crusts are shiny and browned, about 20 minutes.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Off-dry Riesling or Viognier


We wish to thank the following for permission to publish photographs and material:

Curious Cuisiniere for Baked Pumpkin Empanadas. © 2010–2017 Curious Cuisiniere. All rights reserved. Proud member of Mediavine Publisher Network. Food innovation group: Bon Appetit and Epicurious. Read more at Curious Cuisiniere: Baked Pumpkin Empanadas

and for Recipe by Esther Loveall Saunders. © 2017 All rights reserved.


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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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