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Pumpkin empanadas are a wonderful pastry for breakfast or snack. Flavorful pumpkin filling is tucked inside an easy dough and baked for a tasty seasonal treat.
When we lived in Texas, one of my favorite things in the fall was picking up some pumpkin empanadas from HEB, our beloved grocery store.
These pastries are filled with pumpkin that is not overly sweet and perfectly spiced. It’s definitely a staple in my house now!
Empanadas can be fried or baked. I bake mine because it is a bit easier and creates less mess.
If you’ve never had one but love pumpkin, you’ve got to give them a try.
Ingredients for pumpkin empanadas
This recipe has two components, the filling and the crust.
For the filling you’ll need:
- Brown sugar
- Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
The dough is similar to pie crust, but contains egg and milk for richness. You’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Cold butter
How to make pumpkin empanadas
First, make the dough, as it needs to chill before using.
In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt.
Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands. You want the butter to break down into small pieces so that the mixture looks sandy, with a few larger pieces of butter.
Beat the egg and add it along with the milk to the bowl. Stir to bring the mixture together into a cohesive dough.
If it is too dry, add milk a small amount at a time until you can form the dough into a ball.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling.
In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and brown sugar over medium heat.
Stir in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until smooth.
Make sure to taste and adjust the spices as needed. It should be flavorful and not overly sweet.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.
Use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to cut dough into circles. Add a spoonful or two of pumpkin filling to the center of each circle.
Whisk an egg with a small amount of water. Brush a little around the edges of the dough circles, then fold circles in half over the filling to make a half moon shape.
Press the edges together to seal, crimping with a fork if desired.
Place the empanadas on a lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with more egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
What to do with leftover pumpkin empanada filling
Depending on how thin you roll your dough and the size of your empanadas, you might have leftover pumpkin filling.
It’s great to use in a variety of ways, for breakfast or other desserts!
Add to pumpkin baked oatmeal or pumpkin pancakes.
Spread on toast like pumpkin butter.
Use it for pumpkin poptarts, or add cream and use as filling for mini pies.
Or, simply save it for more empanadas!
I always love to change up recipes, so feel free to try some of these recipe options.
Add chopped pecans to the filling or sprinkle on top before baking.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the tops.
Top the cooled empanadas with a simple icing for a sweet coating.
Add vanilla extract to the filling. You can also add other spices like ground cardamom or allspice.
Other pumpkin recipes to enjoy
If you’re a pumpkin lover, try some of these recipes:
Give these pumpkin empanadas a try for your next baking day!
For the dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 egg
- ¼ to 1/2 cup milk
For the filling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree, about 1 ¾ cup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Sparkling sugar, optional
For the dough
- In a bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles clumpy sand.
- Add egg and 1/4 cup milk, stirring to form a cohesive dough. If dough is too dry and crumbly, add a small amount of milk at a time until it comes together.
- Divide dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
For the filling
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and brown sugar to melt. Stir in the pumpkin and spices. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Set aside to cool.
To assemble empanadas
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
- Remove one dough disc from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Use a large round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut dough into rounds. Gather scraps and reroll to use remaining dough.
- Add a spoonful of filling to the center of each circle. Whisk together egg and water and brush a small amount around the edges of the circles. Fold dough over to meet the other side, forming a half moon shape. Seal the edges with your fingers or crimp with a fork. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining filling and dough.
- Brush empanadas with more egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.