Sweet and Savory Empanadas with Cacique Queso Fresco

April 28, 2011 8:45:12 AM PDT
A Latin favorite, these golden delicious empanadas filled with two quesos, spinach and raisins make the perfect passed botanitas for any fiesta! Recipe provided by Chef Aaron Sanchez.

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 lb. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lb. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes, plus 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ice water

  • 1/2 cup white onion, small dice
  • 1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 package (10 oz.) Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1 package (10 oz.) Cacique Queso Cotija, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the 1/2 pound of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg. Slowly add water, as needed, mixing to form the dough, until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and knead gently until the dough becomes smooth, only a few seconds. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (Note: Empanada dough can also be found at a Hispanic market in the frozen section or substitute with puff pastry).

For filling: Over medium heat, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter for 5 minutes then add spinach and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Cool and then combine with cheeses, almonds and raisins.

For assembly: On a lightly floured surface, roll half the chilled dough to 1/8-inch thick (keep the other half refrigerated until ready to use). Cut out 3-inch circles. Spoon about 1 heaping spoonful of the filling into the center of each circle. Brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Fold the edges up forming a pouch, and seal.

Refrigerate the empanadas on greased or parchment lined baking sheets at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and bake until golden brown for about 25 minutes.