This is an easy-to-handle dough but if you want to prepare empanadas quickly, use frozen sheets of pie dough or puff pastry dough. Cut in small circles 3 ? 5 inches in diameter. Cut smaller circles if you use them for appetizers and larger circles if you serve them as an entrée. Fill with anything you like. Fold them in half, press the edges together, and bake. This dough can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons shortening, melted
  • 9 to 11 tablespoons hot water

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Add melted shortening slowing while stirring with a fork. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after every tablespoon. Add enough water for dough to stick together.

Form into a ball and remove from bowl. Knead dough on a wooden board until dough becomes smooth. Add small amounts of additional flour if needed. Form into one large ball and wrap in plastic. Let rest at least 30 minutes.

Divide dough and form into 15 small balls. Roll out each ball into a thin circle ? 3 to 5 inches in diameter. Place each circle of dough on a plate and set aside. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fill the empanadas.

Spoon a few tablespoons of filling on one half of each empanada. Fold over and moisten the edges with a small amount of water. Press dough firmly together with your fingers or a fork. Place on greased baking sheet. Brush with a small amount of oil or with a beaten egg wash.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bake for 5 ? 10 minutes or just until golden brown.

Serves 15

Nutritional Information per serving ? dough only:

  • Calories 90
  • Fat, gm. 3
  • Protein, gm. 2
  • Carbs, gm. 13
  • Cholesterol, mg. 0
  • Fiber, gm. 0

Donna L. Weihofen, R.D., M.S. Nutritionist, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics