Turn Your Summer Cherries Into These Beautiful Dessert Empanadillas

Paola Velez makes cherry empanadillas on this week’s episode of Pastries with Paola.

Cherries are one of many fruits to reach their peak in the summer—and in this week's episode of Pastries with Paola, they star in beautiful pink-glazed empanadillas. While a savory or cheesy filling is typical for an empanadilla, as Paola points out, these have a cherry-packed filling, with lemon juice and warm spices adding even more flavor. The end result is flaky, golden-brown, and portable, too, so you can enjoy them just as easily in your home as you could on a summer picnic.

Read on to find out how to make the empanadillas and follow along with the episode above.

Form the Dough

For the empanadilla dough, you'll need all-purpose flour, kosher salt, a pinch of turmeric for color, cubed unsalted butter or shortening (make sure it's very cold), one large beaten egg, and cold water—plus, a food processor to bring it all together. You ultimately want the dough to reach a consistency that's elastic and "not too sticky," according to Paola. Once it's ready, form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and get it into the fridge for an hour so the butter has a chance to solidify.

Make the Filling

For cherry-packed empanadillas, you'll need plenty of cherries, of course. Paola's recipe calls for fresh, dark, sweet cherries that have been pitted. You can also use frozen ones if you have them, which should be thawed and drained beforehand. Leave half of the cherries whole and roughly chop the remainder. Then, get them into a medium saucepan with the salt and cinnamon. If you'd like a sweeter filling, Paola notes to reduce the amount of salt.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour and fresh lemon juice as well to form a slurry, and add it to the saucepan along with the sugar and nutmeg. Once you've cooked the cherry filling, allow it to cool and then refrigerate it until it's cold (about 40 minutes) before using it for the empanadillas.

Roll and Fill

With the dough and filling done, it's time to form the empanadillas. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Then, cut out the dough circles with a sharp paring knife (you can use either a paper circle or small bowl to guide this). The filling goes in next, and you want to take care not to overfill each empanadilla; Paola recommends one tablespoon. Lightly brush the edges of each dough circle with the egg wash, fold them over the filling into half-moons, and seal 'em shut by crimping the edges with a fork.

Cherry Empanadillas
Farrah Skeiky

Fry Away

Heat vegetable oil to 350°F over medium heat and (carefully!) fry the empanadillas until they're golden-brown on both sides, which should take about four minutes. Be sure to maintain the oil's temperature, and watch out for any filling leaks. If filling does leak into the oil, use a skimmer to remove it so it doesn't burn.

Glaze Over

Take the cooked empanadillas and transfer them to a paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain and cool. To finish them off, whisk together a quick glaze using confectioners' sugar, milk, and pink food coloring. Then, drizzle it on top of each one, creating ribbons of bright pink. Once you're done, you're all set to eat—and make sure you enjoy the empanadillas while they're still warm.

Come back for next week's episode of Pastries with Paola featuring hummingbird cream puffs.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles