recipe

Inspired by the sweet empanadas of Mexico, bright pineapple and tropical coconut join forces in these handheld treats.

safety
  • Uses a knife
  • Uses the stovetop
  • Uses the oven
difficulty
  • Intermediate (using store-bought dough)
  • Advanced (using homemade dough)
time
  • 2½ hours (plus time to make dough, if making)
yield
  • Makes 12 empanadas

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Prepare Ingredients

4 cups (20 ounces)
½-inch pineapple pieces
1 cup packed (7 ounces)
dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons
lemon juice, squeezed from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon
molasses
2 tablespoons
water, plus extra for brushing dough
4 teaspoons
cornstarch
⅓ cup
unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
All-purpose flour (for sprinkling on counter)
1 recipe
Empanada Dough or 12 (4½-inch) store-bought hojaldradas-style empanada dough rounds, thawed
1
large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
1 teaspoon
sugar

Gather Cooking Equipment

  • 12-­inch nonstick skillet
  • Rubber spatula
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Shallow dish
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • 1-tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Pastry brush
  • Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack
1
 
4 cups (20 ounces)
½-inch pineapple pieces
1 cup packed (7 ounces)
dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons
lemon juice, squeezed from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon
molasses

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, combine pineapple, brown sugar, lemon juice, and molasses. Use rubber spatula to stir until pineapple is coated with sugar. Bring to simmer over medium heat (small bubbles should occasionally break surface of mixture).

 
2
 

Cook, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula, until almost all liquid has evaporated and spatula leaves clear trail through mixture, 25 to 30 minutes.

 
3
 
2 tablespoons
water
4 teaspoons
cornstarch

Meanwhile, in small bowl, use spoon to stir water and cornstarch until well combined. When pineapple mixture is ready, add cornstarch mixture to skillet (if cornstarch mixture has separated, stir to recombine before adding). Cook, stirring often, until pineapple mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and slide skillet to cool burner.

 
4
 
⅓ cup
unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut

Stir in coconut. Let filling cool in skillet for 5 minutes. Use rubber spatula to scrape filling into shallow dish (ask an adult for help). Spread filling into even layer. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

 
5
 

When ready to assemble empanadas, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you’re making your own dough—click here for recipe—this is a good time to roll and cut the chilled dough!)

 
6
 
All-purpose flour, for sprinkling
1 recipe
Empanada Dough or 12 (4½-inch) store-bought hojaldradas-style empanada dough rounds, thawed

Sprinkle clean counter lightly with flour. Place 6 empanada dough rounds on lightly floured counter. Use 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop heaping tablespoon filling into center of each dough round.

 
7
 
Water, for brushing dough

Shape, seal, and crimp empanadas following photos, below. Transfer shaped empanadas to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling to make 6 more empanadas.

3up shaping empanadas 1-3

  1. Use your finger to lightly paint top edge of dough round with water in half-circle shape.
  1. Bring top and bottom edges of dough together over filling and press together in center. Pinch edges closed, pressing out air.
  1. Lay empanada flat on counter. Use your fingers to press edges firmly to seal.

3up shaping empanadas 4-6

  1. Starting at 1 end, fold corner of dough up and over onto sealed edge. Use index finger of 1 hand to press down to seal. Hold index finger in place.
  1. With other hand, stretch and fold next portion of edge up and over tip of index finger. Move index finger over and press to seal. Repeat along edge to make twisted rope shape.
  1. Tuck last corner of edge underneath empanada.
 
8
 
1
large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
1 teaspoon
sugar

Use pastry brush to paint tops and sides of empanadas lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.

 
9
 

Place baking sheet in oven and bake until empanadas are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

 
10
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven and place on cooling rack (ask an adult for help). Let empanadas cool on baking sheet for at least 15 minutes. Serve.