Beef Empanadas! We love empanadas at Edible After School because they are easy-to-make appetizers for when we cater large parties (up to 300 people!) and they always sell out quickly at the farmer’s market. We love the versatility of this little hand pie filled with savory or sweet, traditional or creative, vegetarian or meat fillings which allows us to use seasonal produce and showcase Pescadero organic farms.

Beef Empanadas

Beef Empanadas made by Edible After School

We have tried out many recipes over the year some gluten -ree and some a combination of flour and masa. The masa recipes are harder to work with for turnovers (we do like to make tacos with it though) and not as flaky even when we use lard instead of butter. But they are much more flavorful and more traditional. A mixture of flour and masa can be used as well. The best mixed masa-flour empanada dough recipe we tested is Martha Stewart’s:  flour-masa dough. However, my students prefer the flour recipe (printed below) for its ease and super flakiness.

Game Day Beef Empanadas with Avocado Crema

Game Day Beef Empanadas with Avocado Crema

We have yet to experiment with some of the new non-gluten all-purpose flour mixtures that are now on the market but I’ve heard lots of praise from King Arthur’s new mixture as well as Cup4Cup developed by Lena Kwok for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.

DSC_0195Karina with Empanada Dough

Empanada dough is made using the same as technique as a shortcrust except there is vinegar and egg added to the wet ingredients.

First, cut in the fat with the flour, then add the wet ingredients (vinegar, water, egg) until the dough comes together, and lastly knead dough a few times until it is pliable. It’s important to beat the egg with the wet ingredients and mix them thoroughly together (don’t add the egg separately) before adding to dry ingredients or the dough doesn’t combine well and it changes the elasticity. You will find your dough streaked with tough dried out yolk if you don’t head my words!


If making to consume for a later date: freeze empanadas on parchment on a baking sheet making sure they’re not touching. Once completely frozen they can be stacked and stored in ziplock bags without the risk of the the meat pies crushing, touching, or smooshing each other.

Don’t worry about defrosting them, just place the frozen disks on a baking sheet and bake away!

Puente’s Edible After School has been written up in Edible Magazine and other local publications including theHalfmoon Bay Review. Our program has existed for two years through sponsors like the Packard Foundation and private donors but we are ever growing and expanding and looking for help to buy ingredients, pay for kitchen rental, and buy computers so that we can add technology to our class and create an online teen-run cooking program and manage an online store selling our jams, pickles, and grab n’ go market items. Would you consider a donation to our program to help us continue teaching practical Math & English, Nutrition, basic & intermediate cooking, food safety & handling, teamwork and leadership?



Empanada Dough Recipe


  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Whisk flour with salt in a large bowl and cut in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry cutter ,or a Cuisinart until mixture resembles pea-sized cornmeal.

Beat together egg yolks, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a whisk. Make a well in the middle of flour and pour in wet ingredients. Using one hand or a fork, little by little bring the wet and dry ingredients together. Once dough comes together, turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth and pliable. 

Form dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Prepare sweet or savory filling while dough is chilling and make sure to let it cool before stuffing.

When ready to assemble, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out with a 4 to 6-inch round cooking cutter. Using a rolling pin, roll the center of the disk a little to create an oval. Place 1 tablespoon of meat or sweet filling in center of one semi-oval and brush a little water or egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water) around the edges. Press oval edges together and crimp with the tines of a fork to seal.

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425˚F for 5 minutes. Brush with egg wash if you want a little shine and continue baking for another 15 - 20 minutes or until pies are golden brown.