Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas Recipe

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candied pumpkin hand pies

Mexican pumpkin empanadas or candied pumpkin hand pies for pumpkin season!

These yummy Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas or pumpkin hand pies are made easy using homemade candied pumpkin puree and ready-made pie dough. Perfect addition to the Day of the Dead or Halloween menu.

The Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas were a tradition and a treat that never failed in my home. My aunt Julieta truly loved pumpkin season. She was used to making this amazing pumpkin pie and pumpkin empanadas from scratch.

piloncillo and cinnamon

When you got to her house, the kitchen would smell like piloncillo and cinnamon, and then you would be certain she was making candied pumpkin “calabaza en tacha” for Mexican pumpkin empanadas and her famous pumpkin pie served with a big dollop of freshly made whipped cream.

My aunt was also used for baking the best apple pie, not to mention fabulous flour tortillas and sopaipillas. She would also prepare for us a Sinaloa favorite: coyotas. Made with the same dough used for flour tortillas but adding small chunks of piloncillo that, when cooked, would melt.

a bowl of candied pumpkin

How pumpkin empanadas became a Mexican bakery favorite?

Like other baked goods, empanadas were brought by the Spaniards during colonial times. Hand pies or empanadas are part of the legacy of Arabic cuisine. Spaniards embraced this pastry and stuff it with seafood, bacalao, beef, rabbit, and other savory ingredients.

a collage with Mexican pumpkin empanadas

However, while colonization and the mix of the Spanish traditional cuisine with prehispanic local ingredients, the savory empanadas transformed into fried quesadillas using corn masa.

When wheat became available, bread started to be incorporated into the diet, and sweet baked goods such as Mexican pumpkin empanadas, conchas, polvorones, brioche bread, and much more became part of the offerings.

pumpkin varieties

Did you know pumpkin is part of the Mexican legacy to the world?

In prehispanic times “la milpa” (a planted plot) was the way of growing produce and corn. La milpa is a traditional agricultural system where corn grows alongside other crops. Those crops include beans, pumpkins, chili peppers, tomatoes, and Mexican herbs such as purslane, quelite, quintoniles, huazontle, turnips, and romeritos.

Nowadays, the vast majority of pumpkins consumed in the world originate in species domesticated in Mexico. The first pumpkin plant was cultivated in Mesoamerica about 10,000 years ago.

pumpkin carvings

So when you eat a pumpkin, pumpkin hand pies, sweet Mexican pumpkin empanadas, or carve your pumpkins for Halloween, you are enjoying and having fun with winter squash that has been around for a long time. And remember, pumpkin is a fruit, not a veggie!

My version for Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas but the easy way!

There is no doubt that food connects us to our roots but also to so many sweet family memories when growing up. That is the soul of all my recipes, and inspired by those moments made my version of Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas but the easy way.

Using ready-made pie dough and cooking the candied calabaza just like my aunt and my mom did with lots of love and beautiful fresh seasonal ingredients.

Step by step on how to make make mexican pumpkin empanadas

Cooking tips when making pumpkin empanadas.

Use pre-made pie crusts if you do not want to be in the kitchen for a long time. Or make your favorite pie crust recipe.

  • For a fresher sweet taste, cook the pumpkin the Mexican way, with piloncillo and cinnamon.
  • If you opt for canned pumpkin puree, season it with brown sugar and cinnamon before using it.
  • Mash the pumpkin and combine it with a small amount of piloncillo syrup. This will transform the puree into a jammy, sweet texture.
  • Use a large round cookie cutter or a round lid. Many small pots have a lid that could work as a cutter.
  • Add egg wash to the edges to ensure the pumpkin empanada will seal properly.
  • Stuff the dough with some of the candied pumpkin mash and close the empanada.
  • You can either use an empanada mold or a fork or close with your fingers twisting the edges.
  • Sprinkle colored sugar before baking.
  • Use parchment paper to cover the baking sheet.
collage

These pumpkin hand pies are part of my Day of the Dead altar. A small tribute to my aunt Julieta who has joined my beloved mom, Tia Minita, Mamá Licha, Tío Checo, Tío Julio, Mamá Grande, and Papá Grande. My dearest family members left a big mark on my heart. Blessings to all of you, my angels in heaven, until we meet again!

The hand pies make a great addition to a Halloween party too!

shakes for Halloween
Yummy Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas are made easy using homemade candied pumpkin puree and ready-made pie dough. Perfect addition to the Day of the Dead or Halloween menu. Add frothy Mexican hot chocolate, coffee, atole, a pumpkin smoothie, or a glass of iced cold milk!
two plates with hand pies

Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas

Chef Adriana Martin
Yummy Mexican Pumpkin Empanadas are made easy using homemade candied pumpkin puree and ready-made pie dough. Perfect addition to the Day of the Dead or Halloween menu. Add frothy Mexican hot chocolate, coffee, atole, a pumpkin smoothie, or a glass of iced cold milk!
5 from 1 vote
Course Desserts
Cuisine Mexican Cuisine
Servings 12 empanadas
Calories 22 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Baking tray
  • 1 Parchment paper
  • 1 large cookie cutter
  • 1 empanada mold

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 box pie crust 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange-colored sugar
  • 1 teaspoon purple-colored sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Whisk egg and milk in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Place pie crust on a wooden surface and cut into 4-inch rounds with a small bowl, a lid, or a dough cutter.
  • Fill dough rounds with the candied pumpkin mash. Brush edges with egg wash, fold the dough to form empanada, and seal sides by pressing down with a fork. (A dough press can also be used.)
  • Place empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with the egg wash and dust with the colored sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Video

Notes

Cooking tips when making pumpkin empanadas.
Use pre-made pie crusts if you do not want to be in the kitchen for a long time. Or make your favorite pie crust recipe.
  • For a fresher sweet taste, cook the pumpkin the Mexican way, with piloncillo and cinnamon.
  • If you opt for canned pumpkin puree, season it with brown sugar and cinnamon before using it.
  • Mash the pumpkin and combine it with a small amount of piloncillo syrup. This will transform the puree into a jammy, sweet texture.
  • Use a large round cookie cutter or a round lid. Many small pots have a lid that could work as a cutter.
  • Add egg wash to the edges to ensure the pumpkin empanada will seal properly.
  • Stuff the dough with some of the candied pumpkin mash and close the empanada.
  • You can either use an empanada mold or a fork or close with your fingers twisting the edges.
  • Sprinkle colored sugar before baking.
  • Use parchment paper to cover the baking sheet.

Nutrition

Calories: 22kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 8mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 6377IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword candied pumpkin, empanadas, hand pies, pumpkin
Tried this recipe?Mention @adrianasbestrecipes or tag #abrecipes on Instagram
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swathi

Love the filling you made candied pumpkin with cinnamon and Piloncillo filling is so versatile. Yes kids love this. I love empandas, which I buy it from the store. But never tried at home. your post tempting me to make some at home.

Candy Rachelle

Whoa!! I really empanadas. and these Mexican pumpkin empanadas looks delightful and tasty. I will surely try this easy recipe for empanadas.

Olivia @ Olivia's Cuisine

What a creative way to use pumpkins! I adore empanadas and will give this a try.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chef Adriana Martin
Jaleby

wow !! It looks yummy !!! I never got a chance to taste it. Adding it to my list!

Last edited 2 months ago by Chef Adriana Martin
Brandi

I love empanadas. These look amazing and perfect for fall.

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