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Gingerbread Caramel Pear Empanadas:
These delicious delights known as Gingerbread Caramel Pear Empanadas have my kitchen resembling a Christmas elf factory. Except it’s just me and my little family playing all elves trying to churn out as many as possible. The way I look at it, I’m continuing to keep family traditions alive this holiday season. I’ve taken my little boy under my baking wing and am teaching him to make empanadas the way my grandfather taught me. I’m using my trusty caramel recipe made with NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk, and pairing it with my grandfather’s gingerbread empanada recipe giving my caramel pear filling a little twist. La Lechera (available at Walmart) is my trusted partner to make classic holiday recipes come to life. In my Gingerbread Caramel Pear Empanadas I used La Lechera in both my caramel and to make the royal icing. Pair this holiday treat with a mug of NESTLÉ® ABUELITA® Mexican Hot Chocolate and let the nostalgia sweep over you. <3
Ingredients for Gingerbread Caramel Pear Empanadas:
For the dough:
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup salted butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons cold water
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the pear filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds pears (peeled and cored and cut into small cubes)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup caramel sauce
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- sprinkles (optional)
- Make the dough: by adding flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, ground ginger, brown sugar, and salt to a food processor. Pulse to mix completely.
- Add butter, eggs, and molasses to flour mixture. Pulse to bring dough completely together.
- Remove mixture from food processor and knead with hands to fully incorporate your dough. Divide dough into 4 quarters and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the caramel: In a small sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup, and water over a medium high flame. Do not stir, but make sure all the sugar is covered by water. Once the sugar mixture becomes a dark golden brown gently swirl to combine evenly. Remove from flame and whisk in butter, La Lechera, and salt into sugar until smooth. Set to the side to cool.
- Make the pear filling: by mixing pears, cornstarch and caramel together. Set to the side.
- On a clean surface roll out gingerbread dough to a 1/16 inch thickness. Then with a cookie cutter (I used 5 inch cutouts) cut out as many as possible. Divide the shapes in half. You will need two of the same shape for each empanada.
- Place 1/2 of the gingerbread cutouts on a baking mat-lined cookie sheet.
- Make the egg wash: by mixing egg and water together.
- Now place 1 teaspoon of caramel pear filling in the center of each gingerbread cutout. Then spread it just in the middle.
- With your finger brush the outside rim of gingerbread cutout with egg wash. Then top with the same gingerbread shaped cutout. Press down all along the edges with a fork to enclose the empanada. Then poke the fork on the top of the empanada and brush the entire top of the empanada with the egg wash. Repeat until all empanadas are done.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Make the royal icing: Mix meringue powder, powered sugar, La Lechera, and water together until smooth. Place in a disposable piping bag with a tip.
- Allow to cool completely then decorate top with royal icing and sprinkles.
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