Friday, December 5, 2014

A Sweet {Mexican} Treat: Embracing Tradition

As a kid, my family and I would travel every year to San Antonio, Texas to celebrate La Navidad {Christmas}. Sleeping on the floor of my Nana's one bedroom apartment, eating pan dulce for breakfast {Mexican sweet bread}, drinking cans of Big Red, and the aroma of homemade empanadas in the oven bring back sweet memories of family traditions. This holiday season my goal is to embrace our family traditions, both new and old. The first step, the kids and I baking my Nana's delicious empanadas!

Nana’s Empanadas {turnovers}
Ingredients
For the dough:
4 1/2 -5 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp sugar (if you prefer sweet empanadas, use 1/4 cup sugar & 1 tsp. cinnamon)
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast {rapid rise}
1/2 cup soft margarine
3 eggs, room temp
1 cup hot water & 2 Tbsp warm water

For the filling:
1- 16 oz can sweet potato (drained) or canned pumpkin- Or steam 5 fresh sweet potatoes and reserve the softened inside
1 large piloncillo {Mexican brown sugar} or 1/2 cup brown sugar & 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger {optional}


Makes approximately 3 dozen
Directions:
1. In a large bowl mix 4 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt & yeast.
2. Heat margarine with 1 cup water until hot to the touch, then Stir hot liquid mixture into dry ingredients. 

3. Mix 2 eggs plus 1 egg white {save unused egg yoke}. Add egg mixture to reserved flour to make a soft dough consistency. Using your hands knead for 8-10 minutes. Use additional flour if needed until dough is no longer sticky.
4 Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 
5. While the dough rises begin to make the filling.
6. In a saucepan mix all filling ingredients well. Cook over low to medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
7. After dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into egg sized balls, then roll them out.
8. Place 1 Tbsp of filling in center of dough. Pinch the seams together & place them on greased baking sheet. 


9. Cover them & let them rise until dough doubles in size {approximately 30 minutes}
10. Now combine reserved egg yolk and 2 Tbsp water. Brush each turnover with egg white mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet & cool on a wire rack.
11. ‘!Buen Provecho!’ {Enjoy!}




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