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Pineapple, Sausage & Queso Empanadas

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Empanadas were a normal breakfast staple for my DH when he resided in Colombia.  About a month ago, I finally decided to finally give empanadas a try.  This is my 2nd try at making empanadas and it was much easier as I had learned a great deal from the first time.

I was very excited when I found a multi-size set to help me make empanadas.  It's a 4 size dough set.  Didn't realize finding this, which originally I was looking for biscuit cutters, was so hard to find.  Turns out using this set made making empanadas much harder and took much longer.  The part that I use of this dough set is the base, which I use to cut out the circles.  My dough set comes in 4 sizes:  6", 5", 4", 3.5".  If you want to make party sized empanadas, I would suggest the 3.5".  The first time I used the 5" and the 4" and the 5" is quite filling to eat.  The 6" size could be used for a small calzone, but definitely would seem to be too big for an empanada.

The dough recipe was adapted from a recipe I saw on Pinterest that I modified to be healthier.  My husband said when he ate the empanadas in Colombia, they were deep fried.  I said that is too unhealthy & greasy and that I am going to bake them.  He said the filling he likes is ham, queso, and pineapple.  I didn't have ham, only sausage.  So, the filling is my creation.

Empanadas:  Makes 5 dozen 3.5" 

Dough Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbspn sea salt
  • 1 Tbspn onion powder
  • 1 Tbspn garlic powder
  • 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 lb pork sausage (or any type of sausage)
  • 1/2 lb pineapple cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb Mexican cheese (queso) - get this at a Latin market or ethnic store or use cheese of your choice
  • 3 eggs, whisked
Directions for Dough:
  • Sift flour, salt and seasonings together.
  • Using an electric mixer (I use a KitchenAid), cream butter and cream cheese together.  This is done at medium speed until very creamy.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on medium speed.  Do not overbeat.  This mixture should start to form a ball.
  • Refrigerate for a couple hours.  You can refrigerate for up to a week.  The original recipe says to refrigerate overnight, but my refrigerator is really cold and it took more than 30 min. to thaw, rather it took many hours to thaw, so putting it in the frig for a couple hours worked for me.
  • Cover your surface with wax paper.
  • Lightly dust the wax paper surface with flour.
  • Split the big chilled dough ball into 6 equal sized balls.
  • Put 1 ball on the floured surface and press with your hand to flatten it somewhat.  Put another sheet of wax paper over it and begin rolling it with a rolling pin until very thin, less than 1/4" thick.

  • Using a round cutter (biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, round glass), cut out as many rounds as you can.  I was able to make about 60 rounds with this recipe using a 3.5" round cutter.
Directions for Filling:
  • Cook sausage, crumbling as you cook.
  • Dice up queso into small bits.
  • You can either use fresh pineapple or canned.  I bought a few fresh pineapples on sale and used one of them for this recipe.  I put the chunks in a small food processor and processed into small bits.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sausage, queso, and pineapple.  Cover and set aside until ready for use.

Directions for Empanadas
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Taking one dough round, spoon enough filling on one half of the round, leaving enough room at the edges to seal.  For a 3.5" round, 1 teaspoonful (NOT a heaping teaspoonful) is sufficient.  For a 5" round, 1 heaping Tablespoonful.  For a 4" round, 1 heaping teaspoonful.
  • Using the whisked eggs and a pastry brush, on the side of the filling on the edges, brush with the egg.  This is used to seal the rounds.
  • Seal the rounds, gently pressing to seal.
  • Using a fork, press all around the half round gently.  Set aside.  Repeat until all rounds are done.
  • Spray baking sheets with oil.
  • Place all empanadas on the baking sheets.  Brush each empanada with egg.  This gives it that toasty, glossy look.
  • Bake empanadas for 15 min.
  • Serve warm.

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