The fall flavors of roasted butternut squash, onions and sweet potatoes (plus golden raisins and cheese) fill these jack-'o-lantern empanadas. Their savory orange squash filling peeks through the eyes and mouth of the jack-'o-lantern, as if there was a glowing candle inside. If you don't have time to carve out the eyes and mouths of many individual empanadas, you could make one large jack-'o-lantern pie/empanada (just divide the empanada dough in half and roll it into two large circles). Or use this filling for traditionally shaped empanadas - it's delicious and vegetarian.If you're not a vegetarian, a little bacon would be delicious in this filling. Start by cooking a few pieces of bacon until they're crispy. Set them aside, but toss the vegetables with a tablespoon or two of the rendered bacon fat before roasting them. Crumble the bacon and add to the empanada filling mixture before shaping and filling the empanadas.
- One recipe empanada dough
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large red onion
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup queso fresco cheese (salted), or 6 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 egg yolk
- Prepare empanada dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and set aside to rest for at least 1/2 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel the butternut squash and remove fibrous parts and seeds (you can toast the seeds with some butter, in the oven until golden brown, if desired). Cut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel and slice onion into thin ribbon slices.
- Toss vegetables with olive oil and brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables onto a baking pan and dot with pieces of the butter. Roast vegetables in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Shape empanadas: Divide the dough into 10 pieces for large empanadas or into 16 pieces for smaller empanadas. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a disk, about 1/4 inch thick. Set disks aside to rest.
- Crumble the queso fresco cheese and stir it into the roasted vegetables along with the golden raisins.
- Place one disk of dough on the counter and place about 1/3 cup of filling in the middle (for large empanadas, less for small). Spread the filling out into a flat circle, keeping clear a 1/2 inch edge of dough all the way around. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edge of dough all the way around.
- Place another disk on the counter and using a sharp knife, carefully cut out the eyes, mouth and nose of the jack-'0-lantern as desired. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make some grooves in the dough, simulating the natural indentation lines of a real pumpkin. Place this disk on top of the fillng, and press edges together to seal. Fold edges under slightly, keeping the circle shape. Repeat with the remaining disks of dough.
- Make an egg wash: mix egg yolk with 1-2 tablespoons water. Place empanadas on a cookie sheet and bake at 375-400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Brush them with the egg wash.
- Bake empanadas until they are puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let empanadas cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.