When the temperature drops just a couple of degrees, my thoughts turn to Classic Pumpkin Empanadas. The stuff of childhood memories, I still remember my own kiddos nibbling on empanadas as we wandered around the supermarket. Sure, there are fancier recipes out there, but Classic Pumpkin Empanadas are the ones that everyone craves.
Classic Pumpkin Empanadas from your Childhood
What I love about Classic Pumpkin Empanadas is that they are not too sweet. Morning donuts are always a lovely fantasy but high sugar content combined with coffee can make you jittery and crashed out as you roll towards lunchtime. These pumpkin empanadas focus on low sugar and high flavor. Consequently, you can easily take a couple of empanadas with you for a rolling breakfast. Also, if are early on the road, you can pack them as a home made snack if you fear convenience store offerings. (I do!)
Just so you know, I have several recipes for empanadas on my website, but the crust and fillings can be different. For example, here is a link for Sweet Potato Empanadas which is my grandmother’s recipe. The crust is tender and flaky in this recipe. However, for the Classic Pumpkin Empanada, I used the same crust recipe that I used in my Classic Argentinian Beef Empanadas and Roasted Apple and Pumpkin Empanadas. Tender yet sturdy, this is more of a classic empanada crust, in my opinion. That is to say, this crust recipe works with equally well with savory and sweet fillings.
Similar to Turnovers, but less sweet
Empanadas are different that U.S. style turnovers or fried pies in that empanadas are less sweet. Also, empanadas can be fried but I have only enjoyed savory fried empanadas, never sweet. Fried pie crust is different from baked empanada crust. Just so you know, if I were to develop a fried savory empanada, I would probably start with a fried pie crust and leave out the sugar.
Classic Pumpkin Empanadas are the empanadas of your childhood – full of rich pumpkin flavor and loaded with warming Autumn spices. In other words, empanadas are a delicious traditional snack for the Fall!
Classic Pumpkin Empanadas
- Prep Time: 75 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 18 Empanadas 1x
4 cups all-purpose flour (500 g)
1 tsp. baking powder (4g)
½ tsp. salt (2g)
3 tbsp. sugar (38g)
6 tbsp. butter, chilled (90g)
1 cup water (240ml)
15oz can pumpkin puree (425g)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (2g)
½ tsp. ground ginger (1g)
½ tsp. ground allspice (1g)
½ tsp. ground cloves (1g)
¼ cup brown sugar (50g)
To prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour along with the baking powder, salt and sugar. Pulse once or twice to combine well.
Cut the butter into slices, add to the bowl, pulsing until the mixture makes a course meal. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing to combine well. Turn the food processor on and add the water through the feed hole. Once the dough gathers into a ball, turn off the food processor.
Remove the dough and knead by hand on a floured surface until it is no longer sticky. Divide the dough into 18 equal size balls. Knead each piece lightly to coat with flour. Shape each equally sized piece into a flat patty. Place the pieces in a bowl, and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350°F (176°C.)
To make the empanadas, roll each of the chilled dough patties into circles on a floured surface. Roll the circles to approximately 8” (20cm) in diameter. Add a large spoonful of the filling to the center of the circle. Fold the dough over the top to make a half-moon shape and seal the edges with a fork. Crimp the edges decoratively, if desired.
Place the formed empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the empanadas for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
You can substitute just 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger, allspice and ground cloves. Also, instead of rolling out the empanada dough with a rolling pin, you can use a tortilla press to quickly flatten out the empanada dough into circles.