Let’s continue the Spring train today (hoping Spring, itself, will hop on at the next stop) with some lovely, sweet pastries.
What do you say?
I say yes! And you can’t stop me!
But do you really want to?
Even if I offer you a warm empanada?
Made with flaky butter crust wrapped around a fruity, coconut-laced filling?
What’s that you say?
You wouldn’t even dream of standing in my way?
I didn’t think so…
And, really, I adore these little hand pies for their flavor, their simplicity, and their infinite adaptability; you can customize them with the flavors and fillings of your choosing!
I went with a basket full of sweet little lemon plums – what filling will you choose?
Either way, be sure to macerate your fruit with the some sugar and nutty toasted coconut before stuffing into your crusts and baking to perfection.
All aboard the empanada train.
All aboard the fresh, sweet fruit train.
All aboard the Spring train.
Let’s not disembark until that conductor makes us! Or until we run out of empanadas!
Lemon Plum & Coconut Empanadas
For the filling:
1/2 c. coconut, dried, shredded
3 1/2 c. lemon plums, pitted, chopped (Note that this is roughly the equivalent of four plum-sized pieces of fruit; as I mentioned above, you can really use any type of fruit here, excepting possibly whole citrus fruits.)
1/2 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
juice of one small lemon
For the dough:
3 c. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
6 tbsp. cold water
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for just 2-3 minutes or until coconut is light golden brown and fragrant. Remove to a large bowl to cool. Add the fruit pieces, sugar and lemon juice to the coconut, toss well, and set aside to macerate.
Preheat oven to 450°.
To prepare the dough, place the flour, brown sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse just a few times to blend. Add the butter and pulse process until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. With the motor running, add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until a solid mass of dough forms.
Remove the dough to a floured board and, using a well-floured pin, roll to a thickness of approximately 1/4″. Note that there are two keys to assembling these empanadas: don’t roll your dough too thin and don’t overstuff each piece. I used a 6″ round form to cut out large circles, removed them to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, and topped each with just one third cup of the filling, finishing by folding over and pinching the edges of each empanada together to form a half moon shape. You can opt to make smaller empanadas, but you’ll just want to be sure not to overstuff them. Re-roll your dough as necessary, cut out, top, and seal all of your empanadas, slashing the tops of each just before baking to allow steam venting. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until empanadas are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove and set aside to cool slightly before serving.
YIELD: 10 large empanadas