Strawberry Empanadas

My little sister has always loved strawberries. When we were kids my mom couldn’t buy the strawberries fast enough. Her love affair with strawberries hit a bump in the road though, when she ate so many of them in one sitting that she broke out in hives. This happened despite her not ever experiencing an allergic reaction to strawberries. She had to quit for a while before she could enjoy them again.

There’s one thing my sister doesn’t know she’s missing out on, and that’s a just picked California strawberry. The only ones we knew growing up were those deceiving red berries they sell at the grocery store that have everything but flavor. So what makes a just picked CA strawberry so unique? They are picked when ripe, are bright red, and have a unique shine unlike any strawberry you’ve seen. Oh and they give a new meaning to the word “sweet”.

Strawberry season is here, so last week we were able to pick our own at Carlsbad Strawberry Company. We decided to skip Tanaka Farms, in Orange County, because they charge $12 just to get in, plus whatever you pick. I had fun, but the munchkin ate a couple berries and quickly decided to go find bugs or whatever it is toddlers occupy their time with. I ended up buying a whole flat of strawberries to make preserves with, which quickly turned into strawberry empanadas.

My sister is planning to visit this summer, so she will finally be able to taste a real CA strawberry.

Strawberry Empanadas

Yield: 12 to 16
Time: 2 hrs.


Strawberry preserves                                    1 cup
All Purpose Flour                                            2 cups
Baking powder                                               ½ tsp.
Sugar, granulated                                          3 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
Salt, kosher                                                    1 pinch
Butter, unsalted, cold, cut into small dice       ¾ cup
Heavy cream                                                   ½ cup + 2 tbsp.
Egg Yolk                                                          1 ea.


  • To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, 3 tbsp. of sugar, and salt in the food processor, pulse to mix.
  • Add butter and pulse 6-8 times until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, and the butter is the size of peas.
  • Place the mixture in a medium bowl and sprinkle with ½ cup of cream. With a rubber spatula use a folding motion to mix. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough begins to come together. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic, refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface, until 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (4-5 inches in diameter) cut circles, set aside. Gather the remaining scraps, form into a disc, and refrigerate.
  • Place about 1 tbsp. of strawberry preserves in the center of each circle, fold the dough over the filling, and use the back of a fork to seal the edge. Cut 2 small slits in the top of each empanada.
  • Repeat this process with the rest of the dough. Refrigerate empanadas for 30 min.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Whisk egg yolk and 2 tbsp. of cream in a small bowl. Use this mixture to paint the top of the empanadas, and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake until golden brown, remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Chef’s Note:

This recipe was adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson.

Here are some other good ways to utilize strawberries this season.

Fig and Strawberry Tart – Martha Stewart Living

Roasted Strawberry Whole Wheat Muffin -White on Rice Couple

Strawberry & Arugula Salad with Hazelnut Dressing – Gourmet


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