These rhubarb and strawberry empanadas or sweet turnovers are perfect to celebrate spring (and summer). It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I really like empanadas, and most of the time I make savory empanadas. As a kid I obviously preferred the sweet empanadas stuffed with yummy fruit inside, so every now and then I want a sweet empanada either for dessert or breakfast or as an afternoon snack with some café con leche. I’m also trying to incorporate all the yummy things I get at the farmer’s market into my cooking, so while the original plan was to use strawberries as the filling when I saw the bright red stalks of rhubarb I had to add them -partly out of curiosity because I have heard all about how strawberries and rhubarb make this great combination, but had never tasted it before.
Of course the first thing I did when I got home was try a piece of rhubarb, yuck, so sour, though it reminded me of a small plant that used to grow close the water canals on our farm in Ecuador. This plant had small and very thin green reddish stalks that I don’t how or why but I tasted them and they were very sour, yet almost refreshing, but essentially still tasted like something a normal person wouldn’t eat. I was skeptical but if “everyone” thought rhubarb, strawberries and sugar were great then I had to try it, so I chopped a few more pieces of rhubarb, added some chopped strawberries, sugar and cooked it for a few minutes, and it actually tasted quite good.
At first I was going to cook the rhubarb and strawberries to make the filling, but when I did my little taste test I noticed how quickly they both cooked, which meant that just the heat of the oven while they were baking would be sufficient, so I just mixed them with sugar, orange juice and cornstarch and let them marinate for an hour. I drained the rhubarb and strawberry mixture to remove as much liquid as possible, because I didn’t want it leaking out, however despite that and despite trying to seal the empanadas they still leaked while they were baking. I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping cheese from leaking from empanadas, but need to work on the fruit ones. Though it is not really a big deal if fruit empanadas leak when baking, usually it is just the juices that leak out – and they leave a nice color on the edges, plus the empanadas still taste great.
I served these strawberry and rhubarb empanadas with some Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) whipped cream, I have one of those cool cream whippers where you just mix all the ingredients and then put them in the whipper container, charge it and done. I used 2 cups of heavy cream, 3 tbs of sugar and 2 tbs of Grand Marnier, and it was just right, not too sweet and with a hint of orange liqueur.
Easy recipe for homemade rhubarb and strawberry empanadas. These sweet dessert empanadas or turnovers are filled with rhubarb and strawberry, baked, and served with whipped cream.
- 15-18 medium or 25-30 small sweet empanada discs made from basic sweet empanada dough
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb
- 3 cups chopped strawberries
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar, adjust based on your preference
- 2 tbs orange juice
- 1 tbs cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 1 egg, yolk and white separated and lightly whisked
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar for sprinkling on top
- Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange juice and cornstarch in a large bowl, mix well and let rest for an hour.
- Drain the liquid from the strawberries and rhubarb.
- To assemble the empanadas spoon the rhubarb and strawberry mixture on the center of the empanada disc.
- Brush the edges of the empanada disc with the egg whites.
- Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, use a fork to help seal the empanadas.
- Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when baked.
- Sprinkle the demerara sugar on the top of the empanadas.
- Chill the empanadas for at least 30 minutes, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
- Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven at 375 F for 30 minutes or until golden.
- Serve either warm or cold with whipped cream.