This is not your usual Empanada Dough, not even a single bit close to traditional version. I am proud and happy to say that this is 100% better than traditional and that is not just me saying. I got feedback from readers who had tried this and they love it as much as I do. This uses a different method in making the dough. Unlike the traditional empanada dough that is bread like, this dough is light and super flaky.This is the only way now that I make my empanada dough. Do you want to know the secret to flaky empanada dough? read on!
Empanada came from the word ’empanar’ meaning “enbreaded”, that is, wrapped or coated in bread. It is a bread-pastry common in Southern European, Latin America and Philippines. The pastry can either be baked or fried and can be stuffed with sweet or savory filling. Now a days, there are different variations of empanada, from meat filling, to vegetarian and even vegan variations. It can also be noted that home bakers have their own version of making the filling as well as the dough. From the traditional bread like dough to something different like this recipe that I am going to share with you.
There is nothing wrong with making the traditional empanada dough, in fact that is how I started making it. Traditional empanada dough uses flour, water, salt, butter and egg as ingredients and made like a bread dough. Most homemade, bakery style and street food empanada in the Philippines are made like this, and are also deep fried. They are no doubt delicious, but I believe we can make things better. This is my version of making the empanada dough better. A flaky dough perfect for baking instead of deep frying. But if you want to deep fry it, be my guest.
I used to by a puff pastry or a pie crust whenever I like to make Empanada. But since I started making my own bread, I realized that Empanada dough is not a difficult dough to make. In fact, it is much simpler than a regular bread dough. There is no need to let it rise and there is no much kneading needed except when you are rolling it out to cut into desired shape.
My Version of Flaky Empanada Dough
The method used in making this empanada Dough is the same method I used for my shortcut puff pastry. It uses frozen butter, chilled bowl and flour and ice cold lemon water. The method is more like making puff pastry or biscuit, instead that of making a bread dough. This method has been proven to work with scones and biscuits. Using chilled ingredients, and pea size pieces of butter produces light as flaky dough. The frozen butter melts and burst as it hits and exposed to the heat of the oven. This bursting creates steam and leaves pockets of hollow spot and layer in the dough this producing a light and flaky dough. This is something that you will not see in traditional empanada dough that are bread like and compact. When I started using this method, I never made it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, traditional empanada is great, I just find this better. In the end, it is your choice. But before you say ‘No’ to this method, at least give it a try first. Can you do that for me, please?
This recipe is super easy and only 5 ingredients with very simple steps. This empanada dough is super buttery and flaky. This is one of my for keeps recipe that I keep on using over and over again, and it never failed me even once. It always came out perfect and flaky, just like how I want my empanada to be. This is very simple, so let’s get started!
Cookie Cutter or No Cookie Cutter
While we are talking about making empanada dough, might as well give you some tips on how to use this dough to make the empanada. After all, that is our end goal why we are making this dough.
- By Using A Cookie Cutter: I did not use cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Most recipes do this and it is totally fine. I used to do it that way too. Using cookie cutter gives perfect shape and size, but the downside of it is that often times you will end up with small pieces of scrap dough from the cut-out. I hate wasting ingredients and this is one reason why I do not use cookie cutter any more. If you are using a cookie cutter, simply flatten the dough to about 1/4-inch thick then use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough to your desired size. I would say 5 – 6-inches so that there is extra dough for folding the edge
- Flatten, Roll and Cut: This is the method that I prefer to use. Why do we need to roll this into a log? First we want to flatten the dough to about 1/4-inch thick, then we start rolling it to form a thin log or imagine a thicker soft bread stick. Rolling creates layers when the empanada bakes.
- Divide into 6 or 12 (for big batch): This last option I also use and will not leave any scrap dough. Just divide the dough to 6 portions. You can estimate it or you can use kitchen scale if you want to be precise. Once divided, flatten the dough to 6-inches then start filling the center. The 2 and 3rd options are more rustic looking. there is no need to be perfect in size and shape and the edges will be folded anyway.
Tips for a Successful Flaky Empanada Dough
- Freeze the flour and the mixing bowl the same time you freeze the butter. This one it doesn’t have to be overnight but the colder the better.
- Freeze the Butter: Yes, freeze not just refrigerate. You want to butter to be solid hard so it doesn’t melt easily. A cold butter is key to producing flaky empanada, just like when making biscuits and scones.
- Add lemon juice in the water – the addition of lemon juice helps produce a flaky crust, it doesn’t affect the taste at all
- Grate the Butter as this produces a more even size of butter that easily distributes in the dough. Plus, it is the manual easier way, faster than using a pastry cutter. Do NOT break the butter using your hands and hands have natural heat that could warm up the butter
- Use ICE COLD Water not just cold from the fridge. Add some ice cube in the water before using. Warm water could warm the butter and will make it melt. You want the butter, flour, bowl and water all cold so they are in sync.
- Add the Liquid Gradually – Flour differs from country to country and from one brand to another although they are all called All-Purpose Flour. Some brand are more moist while others are drier. The amount of liquid could also slightly vary for reasons like condition of the flour you are using. Older flour requires more liquid as compared to new flour that has more moisture. Humidity always plays role. So add gradually, and feel the dough. It should not be too wet
- Chill the Empanada Before Baking – this empanada dough uses a short cut puff-pastry dough. So the colder the empanada before it hits the oven, the better flaky result you will get because the butter in the dough will only starts to melt once it starts baking. The butter will melt and creates a steam, and that steam produces the layers in the dough
Freezing Un-Bake Empanada
One of the thing that I LOVE about this empanada is that is freeze well. For someone like me who eat like a bird, I do not have to worry of baking everything in one go. Empanada is best served the day they are made to enjoy the texture and flavor to the fullest. Although they can be re-heated in the toaster or oven, there is still nothing like eating it fresh from the oven. I always make a small batch of 6 if I am making it just for myself, but if I am sharing it with friends, I make the batch of 12. Freezing this unbake is very simple and easy. Once you filled the empanada, arrange it in a baking tray and leave it in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Once it is hard enough, transfer it in a ziplock bag. I like to put 2 pieces in each bag so they are not squeezed in. Label the ziplock bag with date and name. This could last 2-3 months in the freezer but it never really last that long for me because I ended up baking it sooner than later. Once you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400F and remove from the freezer. You can brush the top with egg wash for nice browning, but it is totally optional. the egg wash will not affect the taste, it is more for presentation and look. Bake to about 40 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and flaky.
- 1 1/4 All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, FROZEN (in the freezer minimum 2 hours to overnight)
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt (I used fine salt in this measurement)
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 7 tablespoon Ice-COLD Water, or more as needed
Big Batch Ingredients:
- 2 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 14 tablespoons unsalted Butter, FROZEN (in the freezer minimum 2 hours to overnight)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 12 – 14 tablespoon Ice COLD Water, or more as needed
TIP: Put the butter in the freezer minimum 2 hours but preferably overnight before use for a more flaky and buttery dough.
- Freeze the Butter: Place your butter in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight.
- TIP: For extra flaky dough, freeze the flour and the bowl as well, although not a must but it makes a difference.
- Water + Lemon Mixture: Add ice cubes in a glass then add the water and lemon juice and set aside. The lemon will not leave a taste in the dough. The addition of lemon helps produces a flaky crust but it doesn’t affect the taste.
- Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. This is going to sound like home economics book but you need everything to be cold to produce a flaky pastry. Feel free to put the bowl of flour in the fridge to chill, around 15 minutes or you can leave it overnight too.
- Grate the butter: On the larger side of a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the butter into the flour, do this as you go. It is easier to mix it several times than doing it at the end when you are done grating everything. Frozen butter is the secret ingredient of this recipe. The colder the butter the flakier the pastry. So remember, this is a shortcut short crust pastry, so we aren’t folding and doing that whole process so the flaky texture will depend mostly to the state of the butter you are using. I’m all for process but if you get a great result with less work then I’m all for that.
- Wet Ingredients: Add in the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Using your hand bring your pastry together gently. You want to add just enough water to bring the pastry together. Too much water will not yield you a flaky dough. I normally starts at 4 tbsp, then I am gradually adding 1 tbsp at a time. The sign to stop is when you can already form the dough into a ball. When your dough gets too sticky, you went too far adding much liquid. You can remedy this by adding a bit more flour. So start adding the liquid gradually and monitor so you do not have to add extra flour.
- Chill the Dough: Bring the dough together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze 2-3 months to use at a later day. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to use.
- Shape & Cut the Dough: When you are ready to use it, unwrap, roll, knead and cut into desired shape. As this stage, you now have empanada dough ready for filling.
- TIP 1: You can use this to make sweet or savory empanada. Use any filling of your choice. Minced meat, shredded chicken, sauteed mushroom and cheese, Jam, fresh fruit slices, nutella or any chocolate spread, scrambled egg and MORE! so many choices
- TIP 2: You can also freeze the filled empanada for future baking. No need to thaw when ready to bake. Bake straight from the freezer, you might need to add 2-3 more minutes in the baking time.
- Egg wash (optional): Egg wash is optional but it makes a nice browning and looks better. It doesn’t affect the taste even if you do not do it. Simply mix 1 beaten egg + 1 teaspoon water then brush it on top of the empanada before baking
- Baking: Fill and Bake at 400F for 35 – 40 minutes or until brown and flaky.
- Alternatively, you can also deep fry or even use air-fryer to cook it
Large Batch makes 12 pieces of about 34 grams each
- Chicken Potato Curry Empanada (the one shown in photo)
- [VIDEO] Beef Empanada using Homemade Empanada Dough
- 4 Cheese Potato Pie
- Mushroom and Cheese Hand Pie
- Shirlgirl – These empanadas are so good
- Marina Christine – Super easy and delicious! They were gone before I could take a picture next time I make empanadas I’ll make sure I take a picture before the family gets to them!!!
- zeuz1zena1– Loved it beautifully dough
- lettypiriz – The best Empanadas Ever
- MORE feedback HERE
Homemade Beef Empanada
Here is a short video on how I used this Empanada dough to make my Beef Empanada. You can use different filling, like chicken or even potato to make it vegetarian. Watch and see.
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