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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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