Latin America has plenty of recipes for empanadas, both sweet and savoury. Empanadas are often sweet, filled with pumpkin puree, pineapple jam and occasionally dulce de leche. These empanadas have a delicious sweet potato filling. The crust in this recipe is an old-fashioned vinegar and egg crust.
Bolivia is known for its special kind of empanada called a salteña. Oddly, the salteña takes it’s name from a city in Argentina (Salta), but it’s definitely a Bolivian specialty. You can recognise salteñas by the repulgue (the braid-like fold that seals the filling inside) which runs across the top of the pastry instead of along the side.
These fried empanadas are filled only with melted cheese, and are quick and easy to make. Experiment with the filling – some people like to add a little bit of chopped onion or use a variety of cheeses. You can also bake these empanadas with good results.
In Chile, the most traditional empanada filling is called “pino”. Pino is a seasoned mixture of beef mince, onions, raisins, black olives, and hard boiled eggs. The empananda dough is quick and easy to make, and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The pino tastes best if made the day before and allowed to rest overnight before filling the empanandas.
Empanadas are a favourite snack, and they taste delicious no matter what they look like. But we’ve seen those rows and rows of perfect empanadas in bakeries and can’t help but aspire to attractive empanadas that don’t leak, break, or collapse in the oven. We’ve made lots of empanadas, and at least one in every batch still explodes in the oven.
Information on ethnic empanada variations and how to make a basic empanada dough.