These perfect little empanadas filled with homemade pineapple filling is a family recipe that was shared with me by my Tía Minerva. On my last trip to Mexico, in 2011, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a whole month with her. We cooked together and she told me stories of my grandparents and their life together that I had never known. These family recipes hold a very special place in my heart.
Yields 24 small empanadas
3½ cups flour
1¼ cups shortening
½ cup water
½ teaspoon anise seeds
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for dusting
For Pineapple Filling:
2 cups finely chopped, fresh pineapple
¾ cup dark brown sugar or piloncillo, if available
¼ cup cold water
½ cup water, set aside
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Combine the anise seeds, cinnamon stick, and ½ cup of water. Steep (cook) in the microwave for 1½ minutes, strain and set aside. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, add the tea and stir gently stir. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need to add a little more flour.
2. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour. While the dough is resting, make your pineapple filling. Let the filling cool slightly before using.
3. When filling is made and dough has rested, form 1½-inch dough balls and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Take one dough ball at a time and press in tortilla press lined with wax paper, fill with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold over, and using a fork, press edges together to seal empanada.
4. Transfer empanadas to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. While still slightly warm, roll in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Yields 24 small empanadas.
5. In a large nonstick skillet, add the pineapple and heat to medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stir well to combine. Lower the heat.
6. In a small bowl, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water. Mix together, making sure there are no lumps. Add the slurry to the cooking pineapple, stir well.
7. As the pineapple cooks down, it will get thicker, so take some of the reserved water and add a little at a time as you stir. Just cook the pineapple until it becomes thick and loses its cloudy appearance. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before using.
Note: My Tía Minerva's original recipe calls for a little pork lard mixed in with the shortening, yummy!
Below: My Tía Minerva working the dough... photo from my trip to Monterrey, Mexico.Filling the empanadas...Empanadas ready for the oven...Warm out of the oven ... then we just dredge them in some cinnamon and sugar!
Other recipes by Sonia:
Mexican Red Rice
Cheesy Chorizo Bread
Empanadas de Pollo
Pork Chile Colorado
Frijoles Borrachos con Chorizo
Pork Chile Verde
Lemon Pepper Chicken Fajitas
Simply Seasoned Shrimp
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chip Chimichangas