Empanada or Empanadita

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A turnover-like pastry, common in South American and many Spanish kitchens, which is filled with sweet or savory ingredients. Formed from a piece of dough made into a round shape and flattened, the Empanada is filled, folded over into a half round shape and crimp-closed on the open sides before being baked. Similar to making bread, the dough used for the Empanada consists of flour, eggs, oil, vegetable shortening (or lard), and some type of liquid such as broth, milk, water, or tea. It may be light and flaky or dense and close-textured. Ranging from a bite-sized serving (Empanaditas) to a larger plate-sized pastry (Empanadas), this food can be eaten as a snack, served as an appetizer or made as plate-sized baked pastries to be eaten as a main dish.

When made with savory ingredients, the Empanada is often stuffed with a variety of foods which may include meat, fish, poultry, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, olives, and peppers. The savory version of this pastry is very similar in shape, contents and appearance to a Cornish pasty. For the dessert Empanada which is the most common in Mexican kitchens, the ingredients typically include a sweet sauce and possibly bits of fruit, stuffed into various sized pastries for use as small breakfast snacks or made in larger servings as a dessert. The size of the dessert Empanada varies depending on the use, but the size generally made for this pastry is smaller than the savory version but larger than an appetizer portion.

Although most people enjoy the pastries without using a sauce or topping, in some countries it is common to see a hot sauce, a tart juice such as lime juice, or a dipping sauce made available for use when eating Empanadas or Empanaditas.

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