These cute little pastries are a bit involved to make, but they're also really delicious and so fun to eat! The components are both pretty simple - a basic whole wheat crust paired with a cheesy, spicy squash filling. The assembly is a little fussier, especially if you have a tiny kitchen like I do! There were a lot of rounds of rolling and cutting, and it was tricky to get the right amount of filling so that it wouldn't squish out the edges! I also found I had about twice as much filling as I needed...next time I probably make half the amount of filling. Definitely don't skip the sesame seeds on top - they added a nice nutty flavor, and next time I might add even more. Overall, I was really happy with my finished empanadas...they were super tasty, and really adorable! They kept well, and made a great item to pack in my lunch alongside soup or a salad.
Butternut Empanadas (adapted from Sprouted Kitchen, original recipe here)
For the dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 stick + 3 T unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
3 T cream, more as needed
For the filling:
1 smallish butternut squash
2 shallots, minced
1 tsp Allepo chili flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Several grates of fresh nutmeg
5-1/2 ounces grated cheese (I used an Italian farmhouse cheese similar to a Parmesan, but use whatever you prefer or have on hand)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Make the dough. Whisk together both flours and the salt. Cut in the butter. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Stir into the flour mixture until the dough pulls together - drizzle in more cream as needed. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and stash in the fridge until you need it.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds, and then rub both halves all over with oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet, cut-side-up, and bake until tender, 45-50 minutes.
3. Heat some oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and then add the shallots. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots and soft and beginning to brown.
4. When the squash is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and place the squash in a bowl. Add the shallots, chili flakes, cinnamon, paprika, and nutmeg. Stir to combine everything until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Stir in the cheese.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
6. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick, and cut out circles. Top each circle with a spoonful of filling, and then fold the top over to create a half circle. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Place on the baking sheet, and then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
7. Bake about 15 minutes, until nicely browned.