moveable feast: empanada fillings

Hachiya persimmons at the Grand Lake farmers market

Thanksgiving was never a very big deal in my house growing up, except for the Twilight Zone marathon on KTLA! Seriously, that was the best. These days I pop on whatever episode I want with Netflix, and then settle in for a Millennium marathon with my sweetheart. And even though we do Thanksgiving feasting on the following Saturday, I'm  always excited to go to my omnivorous sweetheart's sister's where, thankfully, there is always something for me to eat.

I'm in charge of breads and desserts each year, and they happily eat both with nary a complaint and only the highest praise for vegan cooking - in fact, they requested a repeat performance by the sweet empanadas I made last year! They get super excited about multiple fillings, so, to ease the process, I take a page from every entertaining handbook ever and make them in stages. Three days before, I make the fillings. Two days before, the dough. And the day before, I assemble and bake the whole shebang.

This year's roster stars saffron pear apple, cinnamon nutmeg persimmon and - the dark horse - maple lime pumpkin. The instructions are all pretty much the same for each filling, just keep an eye out for burning or boiling over.


saffron pear apple

saffron pear apple empanada filling

makes enough for 6

  • 1 pear, quartered and sliced
  • 1 apple, quartered and sliced
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • pinch saffron
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive pan, bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring intermittently. Allow the thickened mixture to cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the empanadas.


cinnamon nutmeg persimmon

makes enough for 6

cinnamon nutmeg persimmon empanada filling

  • 1 ripe Hachiya persimmon, scooped
  • 2 Fuyu persimmons, quartered and sliced
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • ¼tsp cinnamon
  • ¼nutmeg
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive pan, bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring intermittently. Allow the thickened mixture to cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the empanadas.


maple lime pumpkin 

makes enough for 6 with leftovers

  • 2 cups pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP grade B maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP lime juice (about ½ lime)
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive pan, bring to a boil and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Allow the thickened mixture to cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the empanadas.


notes


The saffron pear apple mixture should be a gorgeous dandelion yellow, the cinnamon nutmeg persimmon should be vibrant dark orange, and the maple lime pumpkin should be deep reddish brown. The persimmon filling may develop dark spots as you cook it down, do not panic. And make sure to check for seeds!

They will all thicken even more as they sit. If they separate during storage, pour off the thin liquid or stir it back in; I prefer to pour it off to reduce the chance of empanadas leaking. Use any leftovers stirred into oatmeal, spread on toast or over other roasted fruits! 

Stay tuned for two days before!