This is my quick and easy recipe for sweet empanada dough. This recipe for easy pastry dough for dessert empanadas or sweet turnovers/hand pies is very similar to a pastry dough that you would use for sweet tarts or pies.
You can adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference, but keep in the mind that more sugar you add to the sweet empanada dough, the more fragile it will be and will be more difficult to roll out. I recommend starting with the lower amount of sugar, especially if it’s your first time making sweet empanadas.
In addition, I usually sprinkle sugar on top of dessert empanadas, so they will get an additional touch of sweetness. You can easily customize this sweet empanada dough by adding spices, like ground cinnamon/clove/all spice or anise seeds. You can also make the empanadas into different shapes, using large molds/cookie cutters, such as hearts, ovals, etc.
How to make sweet empanada dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 ounces butter 8 ounces = 225grams= 2 sticks, cut into pieces
- 2 eggs
- 2-4 tablespoons of cold water or cold milk
Making homemade sweet empanada dough:
- Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
- Add the butter, eggs and water until a clumpy dough forms.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes.
- Form dough into 2 balls, flatten into thick discs, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas, use round molds or a small plate or cup as a mold, you can choose how large based on whether you want small or medium sized empanadas .
- Use the empanada discs immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.
Assembling and baking sweet empanadas:
- To assemble these sweet empanadas or dessert turnovers, place the filling of your choice on the center of each empanada disc. Don’t add too much filling since it makes it harder to close or seal the empanadas when they’re overstuffed.
- To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If needed, you can brush the inside edges with egg white, it will act as a glue for the empanadas. You can do a final seal by pressing the top of a fork against the edges. You can also try a curl type seal, called repulgue or churito, by using your fingers to twist the curl the edges – this is harder with sweet empanadas than with regular savory empanada dough.
- For best results, refrigerate the empanadas for at least 30 minutes before baking – this also helps them seal better and prevents the filling from leaking out.
- If you want your empanadas to have a nice golden finish, then you can brush them with egg wash (a whole egg whisked or egg yolk plus a few drops of water whisked). After brushing the empanadas with egg wash, you can sprinkle sugar (I prefer brown sugar or demerara) on top. You can also sprinkle them with regular or powdered sugar after baking.
- Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven. I usually bake them at 375F/190C. The baking time will vary based on the oven and size of empanadas, and should be in the range of 18-25 minutes – the empanadas will be ready once they are golden on top.
Step by step photos for the sweet empanada dough preparation: