These rhubarb and strawberry empanadas or sweet turnovers are perfect to celebrate spring (and summer). It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I really like empanadas, and most of the time I make savory empanadas. As a kid I obviously preferred the sweet empanadas stuffed with yummy fruit inside, so every now and then I want a sweet empanada either for dessert or breakfast or as an afternoon snack with some café con leche. I’m also trying to incorporate all the yummy things I get at the farmer’s market into my cooking, so while the original plan was to use strawberries as the filling when I saw the bright red stalks of rhubarb I had to add them -partly out of curiosity because I have heard all about how strawberries and rhubarb make this great combination, but had never tasted it before.
Of course the first thing I did when I got home was try a piece of rhubarb, yuck, so sour, though it reminded me of a small plant that used to grow close the water canals on our farm in Ecuador. This plant had small and very thin green reddish stalks that I don’t how or why but I tasted them and they were very sour, yet almost refreshing, but essentially still tasted like something a normal person wouldn’t eat. I was skeptical but if “everyone” thought rhubarb, strawberries and sugar were great then I had to try it, so I chopped a few more pieces of rhubarb, added some chopped strawberries, sugar and cooked it for a few minutes, and it actually tasted quite good.
At first I was going to cook the rhubarb and strawberries to make the filling, but when I did my little taste test I noticed how quickly they both cooked, which meant that just the heat of the oven while they were baking would be sufficient, so I just mixed them with sugar, orange juice and cornstarch and let them marinate for an hour. I drained the rhubarb and strawberry mixture to remove as much liquid as possible, because I didn’t want it leaking out, however despite that and despite trying to seal the empanadas they still leaked while they were baking. I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping cheese from leaking from empanadas, but need to work on the fruit ones. Though it is not really a big deal if fruit empanadas leak when baking, usually it is just the juices that leak out – and they leave a nice color on the edges, plus the empanadas still taste great.
I served these strawberry and rhubarb empanadas with some Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) whipped cream, I have one of those cool cream whippers where you just mix all the ingredients and then put them in the whipper container, charge it and done. I used 2 cups of heavy cream, 3 tbs of sugar and 2 tbs of Grand Marnier, and it was just right, not too sweet and with a hint of orange liqueur.
Step by step preparation photos for strawberry and rhubarb empanadas