Empanadas de las Monjas (Turnovers from the Nunnery)
I know you’re probably questioning the title, but honestly this recipe was given to my Cousin Gabby, who then gave it to my Tia Conchia, who originally got it from a Nun.
Growing up, we loved to stop by the Nunnery on our way to visiting our Grandparents in a small town in Texcate Mexico. The Nuns would make and sell these AMAZING little turnovers to make money for the church. They were light, sweet and flaky, the perfect little treat for us girls. Anywise, over the years I have thought often of these little pastries so I was pleasantly surprised when my Aunt came to visit this weekend and had the recipe with her! So this weekend, she shared the recipe with me. There were a few things about the recipe that didn’t make sense to me, so I made a few modifications. After testing out the new recipe, my Aunt was shocked how much better they tasted. The end result was these perfect little pastries filled with sweet filling and an amazing turnover crust!
I hope you give this recipe a try. They are definitely worth your time!
Empanadas de las Monjas
Makes 60-65 mini turnovers
1 ½ cups All- purpose Vegetable Shorting
1 cup unsalted butter
7 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1- 12oz bottle of beer ((I used New Castle) (no idea what the nuns were doing with beer!)
½ cup half and half ( not in dough, but used to seal the pastries)
Filling (homemade filling) double recipe if your only making blueberry ones
2 cups frozen blueberries (thawed)
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 jar of fruit preserve (I used strawberry, do not use Jelly)
Or you can just use 2 jars of your favorite preserve)
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ cup Turbinado Sugar (or raw sugar would work)
Make the dough:
1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
2. Cream the shortening and butter together using a the paddle attachment.
3. Add flour and beer to the shortening mixture in three parts, until mixture is a nice, thick dough.
4. Switch the mixing attachment to dough hook. Mix 2 minutes.
5. Put dough in a bowl, and hand knead for about 1 minute.
6. Taking pieces of dough, make into 1 inch balls and set on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.
7. Once you done making all the balls, set to rest for 1 hour.
While dough is resting make the homemade filling:
8. In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice. Cook over medium heat.
9. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.
10. Once the blueberries start to boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool completely.(best result, make the jam the day before)
Assemble the tarts:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees:
11. After the dough balls have been resting for an hour, take a tortilla press and press each ball into 4” circle (if you do not have a tortilla press, use two pieces of wax paper and a rolling pin)
12. Add 1 teaspoon of filling to the center of disk.
13. Using your finger tip, dip in half and half mil and brush the edges of the disk.
14. Fold each circle in half over the filling. Use your finger tip to press the edges gently to seal.
15. Place on cookie tray lined with Parchment paper.
16. Crimp each tart with the tines of a fork.
17. Brush each tart with the sweetened condensed milk and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.
18. Bake for 23-26 minutes. Tops will be light golden brown.
19. Cool for 15 minutes, ENJOY!