If you've already tried empanadas, savory or sweet, you are probably, like me, wondering why they haven't become more of a smash sensation in this country. If you haven't tried them, go ahead and give this recipe a shot and you'll be jumping on the empanada bandwagon too.
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 5 excellent reasons why these delicious pastries should be on everyone's make-it list. For one thing, they're easy to make. For another, they're inexpensive. They're endlessly customizable. They're relatively healthy. Kids love them. You can make them ahead and freeze them. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or snacks. What's not to love about them?
For this sweet version, I use guava paste, or guayaba, and cream cheese. If you've never tried guava paste, here you're not alone. While it's a pretty commonplace ingredient in Latin America and the Caribbean, it's uncommon here in the U.S. It tastes a bit like an apple crossed with a strawberry married to a kiwi. Texturally, it's a little grainy ~ like fruit leather ~ but it's dense and sliceable, like cheese (if cheese were made out of fruit). You're most likely to find it in a low, flat can that looks like an outsize tuna can. I bought mine in the ethnic foods section at my Wal-Mart Supercenter for under $3.00 and I've used a mere fraction of the can so far.
Goya sells some pretty decent empanada shells (look for these in the freezer case), but I like to make my own. My favorite recipe for this dough can be found here ~ on the wonderful, incredible Laylita's Recipes blog site. (I urge you to take some time to browse around ~ in my opinion, she's got some of the most delectable food photography anywhere.)
Empanadas con Guayaba
- 1 recipe empanada dough
- Guayaba (guava paste)
- Cream cheese (low-fat okay)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roll empanada dough out very thin, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Using a 3-inch ring cutter, cut dough into circles. Moisten edges of each circle, place a thin piece of guayaba and a thin piece of cream cheese on the center of each circle. Fold dough over into a crescent, sealing edges. Crimp with a fork.
- Oil baking sheet and set empanadas down on sheet, about an inch or two apart. Brush each empanada with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let stand a minute or two before serving. Keep leftovers in refrigerator; reheat in 350 degree oven if desired.