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.
Empanadas de Camote - Sweet Potato Turnovers
For the dough
- 4 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¾ cups shortening
- 1 egg, well beaten
- ½ cup water, ice cold mixed with ¾ tablespoon vinegar (white or cider)
For the filling
- 700 g sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup sugar, to taste
For the dough:
- Place the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture is the texture of large crumbs.
- Add the egg and then stir until well combined.
- Add the water and vinegar mixture, and stir until the dough gathers into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
For the filling:
- Place the sweet potato chunks in a 6 litre stock pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, fill with water and then bring to a boil.
- Cook the sweet potatoes for about 25 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain the water from the pot and allow the sweet potatoes to cool completely. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
- Once cool, peel the sweet potatoes and puree with an electric hand mixer, adding sugar to taste.
To make the empanadas:
- Heat oven to 175°C. Divide the dough into 30 equal portions and roll into balls.
- Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin flatten each ball. For easier rolling or pressing of your empanada dough, cut two circles of plastic from a plastic zipper storage bag, and roll or press the dough between them. This dough can be a bit sticky, so using plastic sheeting helps.
- Fill each flattened ball with ¾ - 1 tablespoon of sweet potato filling.
- Pinch the edges of the empanada together to form a half circle and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- When all of the empanadas are formed, crimp the sealed edge with a fork. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve.
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