Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

Who can resist freshly picked raspberries at the farmer’s market? I didn’t grow up eating raspberries, but I did have a few different varieties of moras or blackberries growing in the mountains near our farm, so it’s very hard for me to resist any type of good looking berry. Summer in the Seattle area (or anywhere in the PNW) means finding an amazing selection of berries of the many different farmer’s markets. It’s inevitable that we usually leave the market with a couple of flats of different berries, and raspberries are usually a must. Most of time, the berries are gone before I get a chance to make anything with them, but this time I had a recipe idea in mind, so I made sure to save some for these raspberry empanadas.

I love the combination of raspberries, goat cheese and almonds. It is a mix that works just as well as in  savory combination– think of a salad with some spinach or arugula and these ingredients – or as sweet filling for empanadas. I made these for an empanada brunch – I had the classic empanadas de viento or fried empanadas stuffed with cheese, empanadas mendocinas stuffed with meat picadillo, a new experimental empanada stuffed with spicy shrimp and mango (recipe coming soon) and these sweet empanadas. I served these last and they received rave reviews.  Nicolas thought these were the best ones he ever had, while another friend gave an eloquent description of how the texture was just perfect. I felt like a proud mom.

Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

On the assembly side of these sweet empanadas, I discovered that it is a lot easier to make small empanadas. The sweet dough is a lot more fragile than the standard savory empanada dough, so making the empanada discs smaller makes them easier to assemble and the disc is less likely to crack. I’ve also noticed that with desserts- especially if like me you stuff everyone with several courses of food before you get to dessert – sometimes people like having something small, and for those who have more room for dessert, they can just eat twice as many empanadas. I’ve also come to accept that sweet empanadas stuffed with any kind of fruit are likely leak a little bit and in the case of these the goat cheese and raspberries had a few almost explosion like results – basically the top part look like a small eruption took place – but it actually made them look more appealing by offering a small glimpse into what was hiding inside the empanada, and I was even asked if I made them this way on purpose.

Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

Ingredients:

15-18 medium or 25-30 small sweet empanada discs made from basic sweet pastry dough

12 oz raspberries

11 oz plain goat cheese, room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs orange zest

½ cup sliced almonds

1 egg, yolk and white separated and lightly whisked

¼ cup demerara sugar to sprinkle on top

Preparation:

  1. Combine the goat cheese, sugar, vanilla, orange zest in a bowl, mix well.
  2. To assemble the empanadas place a spoonful of the goat cheese mixture, a couple of raspberries and a few almond slices on the center of the empanada disc.
  3. Brush the edges of the empanada disc with the egg whites.
  4. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, use a fork to help seal the empanadas.
  5. Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when baked.
  6. Sprinkle the almond slices on the top of the empanadas, do this immediately after you brush them with the egg yolk, it will help the almond slices stick to the empanada.
  7. Sprinkle each empanada with a little bit of the demerara sugar.
  8. Chill the empanadas for at least 30 minutes or until ready to bake, this will help them seal better.
  9. Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven at 375 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  10. Serve warm.

Making raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas Making raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

Making raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas Making raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

Making raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas

Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas Raspberry, goat cheese and almond empanadas