Happy Valentines Day! Do you have any romantic plans? Every year my hubby and I stay home (with children) and cook up a steakhouse style dinner or crab leg dinner feast. It’s a tradition, but this year we are breaking tradition and actually spending a romantic weekend away – just the two of us. My mom, “abuela” is in town and my son and daughter are thrilled to have her here while we are away, but they are not pleased that we are spending the holiday without them, so I have been feeling a tad guilty.
I recently wrote an article on Parade.com about Heart-Shaped Treats for Your Valentine and came up with an idea. Although my hubby and I will be out of town I decided to play cupid and leave “our hearts” behind to let them know we will always be with them, even when we are away.
These clever heart-shaped empanadas are filled with strawberries slowly simmered in piloncillo. The preserves are sweet but not overly sweet making these flaky baked empanadas delicious and comforting. I have a feeling our children and abuela will enjoy them all weekend.
Heart-Shaped Strawberry Empanadas
- ¼ cup water
- 1 8-ounce piloncillo (unrefined sugar) , or 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Make Preserves:
- In a small saucepan add water and piloncillo over low heat. Sugar will burn quickly so be sure to have on low heat and consistently stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved.
- Combine the strawberries, melted piloncillo, lime zest, lime juice, and salt in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove most of the liquid (about 1 ½ to 2 cups) and with a potato masher coarsely mash strawberries.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until thickened for at least two hours.
- Make Empanada Dough:
- In a stand mixer cream the butter and shortening. Then combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and milk and add to dough mixture until you have a soft dough. Remove dough from mixer and add flour to dough if sticky. Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Assemble and Bake Empanadas:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- On lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out hearts using 3 ½ to 4-inch heart cookie cutters.
- To make sandwich hearts: On bottom heart, wet with water and then add a small amount with preserves. Cover with a second heart and seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the edges.
- This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush each empanada with an egg white wash. Puncture two slits on the top of each empanada with a knife to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray; place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes on middle rack in the oven. If after 12 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet and set oven to broil and bake for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Optional: Drizzle melted dark chocolate on heart-shaped strawberry slices and adorn empanadas.
- Enjoy the empanadas warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate baked empanadas for a few days. Reheat in a toaster oven or bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.
- For a short-cut you can fill these with ready-made strawberry preserves.
Written by Yvette / Photos by Yvette