I tried my hand at growing butternut squash this year.
By late summer I’d realized that vine borer worms had lived up to their name and indeed bored a new home for themselves deep in my pumpkin vines…..for the second year in a row (tear drop emoji face). I was pretty positive they had set up shop in my butternut squash as well, but to my joy and amazement the squash vines seemed as green and vibrant as ever (not to mention creeping their way into every square inch of the garden). Open-mouth smile emoji face!!
So while my pumpkins didn’t live to be hacked into scary Halloween decorations, my squash will be gladly eaten until at least Christmas, if not longer. At last check I had twelve of them out there so depending on our empanada intake, I’m guessing I have some time.
Aside from the squash, the garden is just about finished for the year but I’ve loved having all those veggies to play around with. I feel more freedom to create and experiment when I’ve plucked something out of my backyard and not paid $5.00 a pound for it at the grocery store.
My contribution to this fiesta are these butternut squash and maple empanadas. They are my interpretation of the famous sweet pumpkin empanadas made with piloncillo—the pure, unrefined cane sugar that is pressed into a cone and very common in Mexican baking. The burnt sugar notes in maple syrup have a similar flavor to the ones found in those hunks of sugar but is significantly easier to find in your average grocery store, just please do me a favor and don’t use Aunt Jemima.
The filling is wrapped in a cornmeal crust made with extra virgin coconut oil making them exceptionally delicious and dairy free! The contrast of the crunch of cornmeal with the smooth, creamy filling is a completely gratifying way to dip your toe into fall.
Butternut Maple Empanadas with a Coconut Cornmeal Crust Recipe
This hot water dough comes together very easily and can be made up to 3 days in advance, wrapped and kept in the refrigerator. If you do make it in advance you will have to let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour before rolling out. The coconut oil gets very hard when cold. If the dough is still stiff after sitting an hour, give it a couple good whacks with your rolling pin to soften it up before rolling. Empanadas will keep up to 3 days at room temperature or wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.
For the Dough:
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds whole butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
For the Dough:
- Heat water and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat just until oil melts, remove from heat.
- Combine remaining dough ingredients in a large bowl. Pour water mixture over flour and stir until dough is evenly moist. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
For the Filling:
- Heat oven to 400°F. Remove stem from the butternut squash and cut squash in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds and lay squash, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub oil to coat the surface. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour. Let cool.
- Scoop flesh out of the skin and place in a food processor with remaining filling ingredients. Puree until smooth.
- Heat oven to 375°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a large circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Place a 6-inch plate on one edge of the dough and cut along the outside of the plate with a pairing knife to create a 6-inch circle. Repeat and re-roll the scraps until you have 12 circles.
- Lay circles out on the work surface and scoop 3 tablespoons of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold each circle in half to enclose filling and press all around the edge with the tines of a fork to seal.
- Place empanadas on the two baking sheets. Beat egg with a bit of water until smooth. Brush the tops of the empanadas with egg wash then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
- Serve warm with ice cream or room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 5gSugar: 19gProtein: 5g
One More Thing
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