By Marcus Samuelsson
I love empanadas because you can eat them hot, cold or warm. The person I know who makes them the best is chef Andrea Bergquist — her pastry always comes out perfectly flaky and the play on flavors are unbeatable. This recipe is an ode to Andrea.
Here are the directions:
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 envelope or 1/4 ozactive dry yeast
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup lard, melted
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 cups pureed cooked pumpkin,or one 15-oz
- 2/3 cups chopped pilconcillo or lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tspmilk
- sugar for sprinkling
1. Make the dough: In a small pan, over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. Add the butter and lard to melt. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the milk does not heat above 160°F, add the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together with your fingers then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the milk mixture into the well. Slowly combine the liquid with the flour, using your hands to work the flour into the well until all the liquid has been absorbed and a ball of dough is formed. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rest in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes.
3. For the filling: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients, cover and set it over medium-low heat. Stir every few minutes until the brown sugar is completely melted, then uncover and simmer until very thick, about 15 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and roll them lightly into balls. On a lightly floured board, roll each ball into a 31⁄2- to 4-inch circle. Brush the edges very lightly with water, then spoon two teaspoons of the filling in the center of each circle. Fold the dough carefully over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Put a final seal on the empanadas by pressing the two edges together with the tines of a fork.
5. Transfer the empanadas to an ungreased baking sheet and prick each one twice with a fork. Bake the empanadas for 15 minutes until they begin to color, then remove them and brush them lightly with the egg-milk wash. Sprinkle each empanada lightly with sugar and return to the oven for 5 minutes until they’re golden brown.
Marcus ‘Joar’ Samuelsson is an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur who lives in Harlem, New York with his wife.