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Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe

This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe uses homegrown heirloom pumpkin puree to fill these crispy, sweet dessert empanandas.

October/November 2007

  • This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe makes delicious pumpkin empanadas using an heirloom pumpkin filling.
    This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe makes delicious pumpkin empanadas using an heirloom pumpkin filling.
    Photo by Fotolia/focha
  • This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe makes delicious pumpkin empanadas using an heirloom pumpkin filling.

Total Hands-On Time: 1 hr

Preparation Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 20 to 25 servings

This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe is a South American dessert made with homegrown heirloom pumpkin puree.


This Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe makes delicious pumpkin empanadas using an heirloom pumpkin filling.

Empanadas Dulces de Calabaza Recipe

(Empanadas with Sweet Pumpkin Filling)

Try this pumpkin empanadas recipe using an heirloom pumpkin variety. I have featured pumpkin soups and pumpkin dumplings in the past, so why not try something different that really showcases the adaptability of these three pumpkins? I have gone to South America for this delightful dessert. Pumpkin pie, move over!

Step One: Prepare the Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tbsp water

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a valley in the center.

2. Beat eggs until lemon in color and pour into the valley. Add olive oil and half the water.

3. Stir to form dry crumbs, adding only enough additional water so that the dough becomes soft and loose like short pastry crumbs.

4. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes. While the dough is resting, make the filling.

Step Two: Filling for the Empanadas

4 cups (2 pounds) puréed cooked pumpkin
3 tbsp bulgur wheat
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup black raisins or zante currants
1/3 cup yellow or green raisins
4 tbsp sugar or honey to taste
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/4 tsp powdered cardamom

1. Add all ingredients to a deep stewing pan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.

2. Stir occasionally so the ingredients are well combined and continue cooking until the wheat is thoroughly soft and the mixture has thickened to a loose, grainy consistency (about 15 to 20 minutes).

3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. While the filling is cooling, make the egg glaze for the pastries.

Step Three: Egg Glaze

1 egg
2 tbsp rich milk or cream
Pinch of salt

1. Beat the egg until lemon in color, then add the milk and salt.

2. Whisk until thoroughly combined, and set aside until you are ready to bake.


1. Once the filling is cool and the dough has rested, roll out the dough “paper thin” on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 5-inch rounds.

2. Fill each round with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture.

3. Brush the edge of each round with the beaten egg glaze and fold over to form a “half moon.” Press the edges together with a fork and set each pastry a few inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

4. Proceed in this manner until all the pastries are filled, then take a soft basting brush and glaze each one with the remaining egg glaze.

5. Bake in the oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then serve hot or at room temperature. Yield: 20 to 25 5-inch pastries.

William Woys Weaver is a food historian whose passion for pumpkins has gotten him up to his elbows in empanadas. But his freezer is full and his friends are happy.

Highly Recommended by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors:

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History by William Woys Weaver, now on CD. If you want to explore the fabulous flavors, fascinating history and amazing diversity of vegetables, this is the book to start with. Food historian and MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor Will Weaver profiles 280 heirloom varieties, with authoritative growing advice and incredible recipes. First published in 1997, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening has since been out of print, with used copies selling online for as much as $300. We are proud to present the original text, with color photos, as a digital book on CD-ROM. Order now.

Read more about growing and cooking with heirloom pumpkins: Grow These Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties.

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