Mini empanadas are filled with a spiced apricot jam and fried until golden. This is a wonderful traditional dessert served at Christmas time in my family. You may omit the cloves if you prefer a less spicy version.
INGREDIENTS (for 1 servings):
- 4 cups chopped dried apricots
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup shortening or lard
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
Place the dried apricots and 1 1/2 cups of water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
In the container of a blender or large food processor, combine the apricots with any remaining water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Cover, and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Pour 1 cup of water into a large bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let stand for about 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Mix in the shortening and salt. Gradually mix in the flour using a sturdy spoon until the dough is stiff enough to knead on a floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Do not set aside the dough to rise.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into circles with a large biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter. Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the circles, and fold over. Seal the edges by pressing with your fingers.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a deep heavy skillet over medium-high heat, or to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Fry the pastries in the hot oil, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.