Made with just 4 staple ingredients, this empanda dough is simple to prepare and delicious stuffed with all sorts of fillings! Plus, there isn’t any butter or oil – thanks to protein-rich Greek yogurt. Impress your friends and family at the next picnic, BBQ, or potluck with this homemade treat!
I grew up in Colorado my whole life and never had an empanada until a year ago. That’s just wrong. And the worst part? It took my Connecticut-born husband to introduce me to them.
If you live in or have visited Denver, chances are you ran across a few empanada shops or even saw them for sale at coffee shops. For those of you not familiar, an empanada is a pastry (usually savory) made by folding dough over stuffing and then baking or frying.
Fillings for empanadas vary greatly from the more traditional South American fillings, like meat, beans, and cheese to more American fillings like BBQ pork or buffalo chicken. But we’ll talk more about fillings in a later post ?
Today, it’s all about the dough. Traditional empanada dough is made from flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, lard/shortening, and an egg wash. To make things a little healthier without losing the traditional flavor, I simply swapped in Greek yogurt for the lard/shortening and nixed the sugar.
Making empanada dough is like a combination of pizza dough and Christmas sugar cookies (strange, but keep with me). Like cookie dough, there isn’t any yeast to worry about. Simply combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) then cut in the Greek yogurt. Once crumbly, really start kneading the dough (like you would will pizza dough) until it forms a ball.
The dough at this point should hold together and have some moisture, but it shouldn’t be sticking to your hands. From this point, roll out the dough until it’s nice and thin, like you are making thin-crust pizza. Then using a cookie cutter or pint glass, cut out circles. Once there’s no more room for more circles in the dough, roll remaining dough back into a ball, roll out thin, then cut more circles (if you’ve made sugar cookies then you get the drill).
Once the circles are all made, add filling to the center of each, brush the edges with beaten egg, fold dough over filling, then seal by using a fork to crimp. Repeat with remaining circles, placing finished ones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once all your empanadas are assembled, brush the tops with egg wash (do not skip this step!) and bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes.
So here’s a toast to easy, homemade empanadas – your new go-to party food!
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