These easy pumpkin empanadas are a twist on the classic Mexican dessert, and are made with pizza dough (instead of empanada dough) and a creamy pumpkin filling.
THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY WEWALKA.
Who else is unapologetically excited for pumpkin season?
It’s not just me, right?
I love everything about pumpkin season– the crisp fall air, the changing leaves, and of course–
Fall baking is more exciting than summer baking, because turning on the oven doesn’t make your house feel like it’s ten million degrees.
And with fall baking on my mind, I’ve been whipping up batch after batch of these tasty twists on pumpkin empanadas.
These aren’t classic Mexican empanadas (a type of hand pie)– instead, they’re a quick and easy version made with pre-made pizza dough and creamy pumpkin filling.
Wewalka Pizza Dough Makes Perfect Empanadas
Last spring, we packed our bags and moved to Kentucky.
At first, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find my favorite dough, because we’re in a smaller town than before, with fewer grocery options.
Wewalka‘s dough is high-quality— without hydrogenated oils or artificial colors– and is delicious and incredibly easy to work with.
(As of 2022, Welwalka is now “Jus-Rol”.)
Once I found their pizza dough, I left skipping out the door with rolls and rolls of it.
Really, so much pizza dough.
We definitely ate a few pizzas that week, but I also started playing with the dough.
And guys, pizza dough makes DELICIOUS pumpkin empanadas. The dough rises and turns golden, making these little hand pies sturdy and easy to handle.
I also like that the dough is flavorful, but isn’t sweet— making it a nice compliment to the sweetened pumpkin filling.
For this pumpkin empanada recipe, you’ll need two rolls of Wewalka‘s refrigerated pizza dough.
How to Make Empanadas from Pizza Dough
Start by lightly flouring a hard surface (like a large wooden cutting board).
Roll the pizza dough out, and set it on the floured surface.
Next, use biscuit cutters (or circular cookie cutters) to cut circles out of the dough. I use these biscuit cutters.
Set the cut circles on parchment paper. I use the paper that the dough was wrapped in.
Repeat with another sheet of dough, and then set the empanada circles in the fridge.
Make the Filling for Pumpkin Empanadas
Next, blend together pumpkin purée, an egg, spices, plain Greek yogurt, a little cream cheese, and maple syrup.
Take the empanada dough out of the fridge, and begin filling the empanadas.
How to Make Pumpkin Empanadas
Place about one tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle, fold the circle in half, and crimp it shut.
I use the back of a spoon or fork to crimp my empanadas.
Brush the empanadas with a beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until golden.
Can I Skip the Dairy?
Yes, you can!
I like adding the yogurt and cream cheese to these pumpkin empanadas, but if you leave it out the filling will be similar to a classic pumpkin pie filling.
Can I Make These Ahead of Time?
The pumpkin empanadas definitely taste their absolute best right out of the oven, but they keep incredibly well.
These will last for several days in the fridge or can be frozen for later.
Since I made quite a few batches of pumpkin empanadas for testing, we’ve been reheating frozen mini pumpkin hand pies for snacks, and they’re still delicious.
Serve these fall pastries as a dessert at your next party, as a breakfast pastry, or whenever you feel the urge to eat more pumpkin!
3-4 Days (Fridge), 1 Month (Freezer)
- 2 sheets pizza dough This recipe is based on rectangular-shaped dough– if your dough is pre-formed as a circle, you may get fewer empanadas per sheet of dough.
- ¾ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt, plain (whole milk)
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prepare Empanada Dough:
- Prepare surface for cutting dough:Lightly flour a large cutting board or other hard work surface. Unroll the pizza dough, and lay it directly on the floured surface.Alternatively, line a hard work surface with parchment paper.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a 4 ½" or 5" circle cookie or biscuit cutter to cut 6 circles out of the dough. Place each circle onto the parchment paper as you go.Tip: If you're having trouble cutting through the dough, make sure you're cutting on a very hard surface (like a wood cutting board). The cutters may struggle to cut on a plastic surface.Repeat with the second roll of pizza dough and a second baking sheet. You should have twelve dough circles.Place the dough circles in the fridge.
- Add pumpkin, 1 egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream cheese, yogurt, and maple syrup to a blender basin, and blend until smooth.Tip: Use a small blender if possible. Some large blenders may struggle to blend the small amount of pumpkin filling. Alternatively, soften cream cheese for 15-20 seconds in the microwave, and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Remove empanada dough from the fridge.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin filling to the center of each dough circle. Fold the dough in half, and press down with your fingers to close the empanadas. Next, use the back of a spoon, or the tines of a fork, and press down on the edges of the empanadas to seal them.Tip: Pizza dough will poof up more while baking than empanada dough (more like a calzone), so sealing the empanadas is more about closing them very carefully than creating a decorative pattern.
- Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Next, brush the tops and edges of each empanada with the beaten egg, paying special attention to the sealed opening. (The egg will help seal them shut.) Sprinkle the tops of the empanadas with sugar.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Make Ahead / Refrigerate:Loosely wrap the empanadas in aluminum foil, and store them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.Make Ahead / Freeze:Tightly wrap the empanadas in plastic wrap, and then put them in an airtight container. Use within 1 month. Reheat by microwaving in 1-minute bursts for 2-3 minutes, or baking at 300°F until hot.