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This recipe for Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña, is a keeper. These yummy and vegan empanadas are sweet and slightly tart. They make a great dessert for everyone in the family.
Do you know about my little brother yet? Well, he’s not so little. He’s 6’4”, smarter than the average bear, and a vegan. He is very busy right now getting his PhD in Computational Chemistry. He’s smart, remember? I decided to make him a vegan dessert. That’s why I made Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña.
I contacted my fellow food blogger and friend Sonia from La Piña en la Cocina and discussed what I could make for my genius brother. She suggested I use her mom’s empanada dough recipe which does not use milk but a cinnamon tea base. It’s a tough dough to work with, she said, and many have had problems with it. My response: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
This dough is not your average dough. It’s not your average John “DOUGH”, it’s “Juan” of a kind. (lol) Make the cinnamon anise “tea.” Once cooled, add it to your flour mixture.
This isn’t the smooth Pillsbury refrigerated dough we all know and love. I adapted her mom’s recipe slightly to make it more user friendly. I suggest adding more tea water. Enough to get the dough going. Here is the original recipe.
Here’s something else I recommend. Don’t roll out the entire dough like normal empanadas. Kinda like flour tortillas or buñuelos, make individual dough balls and roll each out. If you have a tortilla press, this will go quickly. If you don’t, roll out the dough then cut out your circle.
The beauty of this dough: There’s no dairy. No need to worry about keeping it cold or warming up the dough with your hands. Love that!
For the filling… Since I was talking to Sonia, or as some people know her, “La Piña.” I decided to make my bro Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña. Chop the fresh pineapple, thicken up with cornstarch, and set aside to cool.
Add a spoonful of your pineapple filling to the dough and fold. I’m not as fancy as La Piña when it comes to empanada edge. I use a fork because it’s forking easy. Ha!
Who would ever guessed these Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña, are this good and 100% vegan?! Confession time: My family was somewhat upset when I only gave them one each. PhD-ing is hard stuff! My little brother deserves alllll the empanadas… minus the ones I ate. For testing purposes, of course. 😉
Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña
- For the Dough:
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 piece star of anise
- 1-2 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour sifted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- For the Filling:
- 1 fresh pineapple
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Additional Ingredients:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- For the Dough:
- Combine the water, anise, and cinnamon stick in a small pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Boil for 3 minutes.
- Set aside and let cool.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Heat the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl just until it begins to melt.
- Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter or fork.
- Strain the anise/cinnamon from water.
- Start by mixing in 1/2 cup of warm “cinnamon tea” into the flour mixture.
- Mix until dough forms. It will look slightly lumpy (not smooth).
- Knead in a little more water and work the dough for 5-6 minutes.
- You will use about 1 cup of the warm liquid, or whatever is needed.
- Cover with a towel and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
- For the Filling:
- Cut up a fresh pineapple.
- Chop into small pieces.
- Discard the tough core.
- To a stock pot, add the pineapple, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Continue stirring occasionally.
- With a potato masher, break up the larger pieces of pineapple.
- In a small cup, stir together cornstarch and the cold water.
- Add the cornstarch mixture to the pineapple.
- Cook until the pineapple filling starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- To Assemble:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Dust your working surface with flour.
- Make 24-28 small dough balls the size of a large golf ball.
- With a rolling pin, roll each dough out to 2 - inch circles.
- Add a 1 - 1½ tablespoons of filling to the center of each circle.
- Fold over the dough and using a fork or fingers, press edges together to seal.
- Transfer empanadas to a lined baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix ground cinnamon + ½ cup sugar.
- Brush water over the top of each empanada.
- (For non-vegans, you can use an egg + water mixture instead of water)
- Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the empanadas.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While the empanadas are still warm, add more of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Let cool and enjoy!
- You can use an egg + water mixture instead of water to brush the top of the empanadas.
- You can also use butter instead of shortening to make the dough.
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With all that flavor (especially added to the dough) these sound incredible!
Thanks. These Empanadas de Piña, or Pineapple Empanadas, were so good. And yes, that extra flavor goes a long way!
Rebecca | Let's Eat Cake
I love empanadas and these pineapple ones sound super tasty! Thank you for the step-by-step tips on how to make them too!
Hi Rebecca, thank you! I love Pineapple Empanadas, or Empanadas de Piña, too. .. especially in the morning with a big cup of coffee. 🙂
That is so sweet of you to make vegan empanadas for your brother!! I love the pineapple in these!
These sound delightful! And I bet the homemade empanada crust makes these that much better <3
Kate | Veggie Desserts
That spiced John ‘Dough’ sounds so good! Your brother is lucky to have you to make him such great treats.
Best empanadas ever!! Thank you
Thank you very much! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Will this recipe work with gluten free flour?
I have never tried it with gluten free flour. Sorry. Wish I could be more help.
I accidentally left my dough sit over night , is bad to use it ?
If it was outside, I would not use it. There isn’t any egg or milk, so even outside might be ok, but I wouldn’t chance it. Inside a fridge, it’s definitely ok to use.