An empanada is a stuffed pastry which is baked or fried and served as an appetizer (tapa) or as a main course. Empanadas are most popular throughout the Latin culture and growing in popularity amongst other cultures around the world. Empanadas are prepared by folding the dough circle around the stuffing of your choice then sealing the outside edges. A finished empanada will be in the shape of a half circle with a crisp golden crust on the outside and soft tender inside. Typically an empanada is stuffed with a meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc...) or with just cheese (queso.) Here we will walk you through a simple 3 step process so that you can start enjoying these delicous little pastries at home.
Before preparing your empanada you are first going to prepare your filling of choice. Check out our list of delicious new recipe ideas. Please note that food will not cook within the dough. All food, especially meats must be cooked prior to baking or frying the pastry.
Place dough flat on a clean countertop. Take filling and place it in the center of the dough circle. Be sure that you are still able to fold the dough around the filling. Next you fold the dough into a half circle shape so that the edges are lined up evenly. Once lined up make sure that you firmly seal the edges of the dough to each other. Most people find it easiest to use a fork to seal the edges of the dough.
The final step of the process is to cook the dough. There are two ways you can go about doing this. One method of cooking the empanada is to fry it. Frying the dough will give you a crisp golden outer shell which will typically have a bubbly texture. In order to fry the dough you first heat a pan of oil on high heat. Once the oil is hot, gently place the pastry into the hot oil and cook both sides to the crispiness of your liking. The healthier alternative to deep frying your pastry is to bake them. Set oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. Brush on butter or egg batter for a nice crispy finish.