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Cajeta Empanadas

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  • Prep 1 hr 10 min
  • Total 1 hr 50 min
  • Servings 12
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by: Sonia Mendez Garcia
Updated Jul 20, 2017
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  • 1 1/8 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups Mexican cajeta or dulce de leche
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw
  • 1/3 cup finely crushed pecans
  • Parchment paper


  • 1
    Add the shortening to a glass bowl and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute to melt the shortening. Add the warm water, granulated sugar and vanilla, stir to dissolve the sugar slightly.
  • 2
    In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until the dough forms. Make 24 dough balls, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 4
    Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a shallow bowl, combine the raw sugar and the crushed pecans.
  • 5
    Using a tortilla press lined with plastic, flatten the dough balls, one at a time, and fill with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cajeta. You could also use a flat-bottomed plate to flatten the dough balls. Using the plastic to help you, gently fold over and pinch the edges to seal the empanada. Fold the dough over slightly as you pinch. Keep the dough balls covered so that they don’t dry out.
  • 6
    Roll the empanadas into the sugar and pecan mixtures, patting down slightly so the sugar sticks on each side. Transfer the empanadas to the baking sheets.
  • 7
    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly golden brown. You may have to bring the bottom pan up and bake an extra few minutes after top pan is done. It’s likely that some of the cajeta will leak out while baking. Cool slightly before serving. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. The shelf life is 3 to 5 days.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    When preparing large quantities of empanadas, you could prepare the dough balls ahead of time. Keep them stored in the freezer for a couple of weeks and defrost completely before using.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Mexican cajeta and empanadas always take me back to Mexico. My Mom and all of her sisters were incredible cooks and bakers. Growing up, I was fortunate to live near the panadería, but nothing could compare to the homemade empanadas filled with assorted fruits, pumpkin and cajeta. The cajeta-filled ones were always the favored empanada in my family.
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