Banana Empanadas

I cautiously took each step down the stairs with an extra sense of care, still feeling weak from a weekend of nausea. My feet were happy to plant themselves on the solid wood of the first floor. As I walked into the kitchen for the first time in days, the first thing that drew my eyes was the fruit basket, overflowing with browned and speckled over ripe bananas. They had been neglected, since none of us really had the appetite to consume our normal amount.

This could only mean one thing: time to fire up the oven.

I was happy to do so. I had been secretly hoping we would have some ripe bananas for Buttermilk Banana Bread. But there was something else.

Empanadas. Every once in a while, I get a craving for a savory empanada, filled with morsels of ground beef or shredded chicken. A few months ago, however, we were at a friend’s house for dinner, and she served savory Banana-Black Bean Empanadas. I was intrigued. Bananas in an empanada? A savory one? Hmmm.

Since then, it seems that everywhere I turn, I encounter empanadas. Kathryn of Dramatic Pancake featured three succulent empanadas, beautifully crafted by her friend, Lulu. That was the clincher. I wanted to make empanadas. Sweet ones.

Enveloped in a traditional empanada dough, sweetened ever so slightly, I tucked in chunks of sweet, ripe bananas dusted with glistening brown sugar. To emulate a traditional Turon (a Filipino treat similar to a strudel), I also put some jackfruit – more out of nostalgia than necessity. They emerged from the oven, delicious little turnovers, their sweet filling bubbling and syrupy.

With my cup of tea, I sat down to break into the flakey crust. I was definitely feeling better.

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Banana Empanadas

Yield: Makes 1 dozen.

Empanadas come in as many variations as the countries that have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. There are the savory, and there are the sweet. In the Philippines, most empanadas stay on the savory end of the spectrum, but this filling is similar to the Turon.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ice water

2-3 very ripe bananas (or, ideally, plantains)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 jar/can jackfruit (optional but highly recommended)

To Seal and Brush
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk


Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till incorporated. Add the butter and pulse for about 10 seconds, until the mixture looks like crumbs. Add the egg yolk and pulse. With the food processor running, add the water in a slow drizzle until it comes together in a ball. Take care not to get the dough too wet. Place the ball of dough on plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using, or overnight until ready to use. The dough can also be frozen.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the dough and use a 4 inch cutter, you should have about 1 dozen disks. Place on parchment paper or silicone baking mat to ready for filling.

Cut bananas into 1/2 inch pieces and toss in brown sugar in a bowl. Place a heaping tablespoon in the center of each disk. If you are using jackfruit, place a small amount in the center as well. Brush the edges with egg white and fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges shut. Crimp with a fork to seal. Return to refrigerator for several minutes if the dough has softened considerably.

Whisk together the egg yolk and milk and lightly brush the empanadas just before baking. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is a golden brown. Best served immediately, when piping hot.

Pastry adapted from Rich Pie Pastry, Memories of Philippine Kitchens, by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan.

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by Liren Baker on March 14, 2012

26 Responses to “Banana Empanadas”

  1. Rikki March 14, 2012 @ 11:43 pm (#

    I totally forgot today was pi day! This is perfect…I just bought bananas! [:

  2. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 15, 2012 @ 12:00 am (#

    Oh yum, beautiful empanadas! I hope you’re feeling better Liren. It’s been very cold and rainy and my kids started sicky. :-( Adding jackfruit sounds quite interesting and fun combination with banana. I love the color of the cloth – super cute! Hope you will recover fully soon!

  3. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts March 15, 2012 @ 12:05 am (#

    Delicious! I have been wanting to make empanadas, but I was thinking of a savory version Now I might have to rethink my plans!
    Glad to hear you are feeling better!

  4. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 15, 2012 @ 4:57 am (#

    These are gorgeous, Liren, and I love your storytelling. I’m JUST about to hit publish on a post that begins with a wave of nausea, as well — how funny is that?

    • liren replied: — March 15th, 2012 @ 6:25 am

      Aw, thanks Julie! Funny, but not so funny! I hope you are ok – will run over and see if your post is up yet :)

  5. Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 15, 2012 @ 5:15 am (#

    I’ve only tried savory empanadas, but I love the idea of sweet ones. I must neglect some bananas so I can try these!

  6. Jennifer (Delicieux) March 15, 2012 @ 5:43 am (#

    Your banana empinadas look fantastic, in fact, my fiance who peeked over my shoulder wants to know when I’m going to make them. He’s nuts about banana’s.

  7. Tanja (Tanja's Cooking Corner) March 15, 2012 @ 10:43 am (#

    This is such a tempting version of sweet empanadas… So far I have always made savory ones, but this is something I NEED to try out soon :) Hope you are feeling better!!

  8. Patty March 15, 2012 @ 1:17 pm (#

    So glad you’re up and feeling better! Anything and everything baked with bananas is one of my favorites;-). I’ve never made empanadas, these certainly are tempting me;-)

  9. Brian March 15, 2012 @ 1:51 pm (#

    Sorry you weren’t feeling well! But I’m so glad you are doing better and that you got to make these fabulous turnovers! You definitely got me drooling!

  10. Jean March 15, 2012 @ 3:03 pm (#

    I’m a sucker for any type of banana dessert and I have been craving them a lot lately–unfortunately, I can’t seem to leave a banana alone to ripen on the counter these days. Empanadas have been an obsession, too, since returning from our trip and I have been planning on making some savory ones. These would be a perfect dessert anytime but especially for an empanada party my fellow travelers and I have been talking about.

    I’m so glad you’re feeling much better. :)

  11. Holly March 15, 2012 @ 4:12 pm (#

    These sound yummy, and the dough pretty easy – pastry dough intimidates me. I think I’m going to go with your friend Lulu and make the black bean empanadas since I have a plantain sitting, ripening in my fridge.

    • liren replied: — March 15th, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

      Don’t be intimidated! You can do it :) Pastry dough is definitely very easy and I know you’ll have fun along the way. Good luck!

  12. Sammie March 15, 2012 @ 6:01 pm (#

    That’s such a great idea!!! I luuuuuuurve turon too!! Never tried sweet empanadas but I can see how it would work really well! It’s pretty much a turon with delicious flakiness on the outside!!

    P.S. Loving your blog and all your beautiful pictures in it! :)

    • liren replied: — March 15th, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

      Thank you, Sammie! I’m so glad you came by!

  13. Nancy/SpicieFoodie March 15, 2012 @ 9:00 pm (#

    Glad to see you are feeling better Liren :) Your empanadas look delicious. I’ll have to try them as I’ve never used bananas for my empanadas. Have a great weekend!

  14. Platanos, Mangoes & Me! March 15, 2012 @ 11:53 pm (#
    ) good…I am making tomorrow sweet plantain empanadas with picadillo filling….Can’t wait….

  15. Erika - The Teenage Taste March 16, 2012 @ 12:43 am (#

    These empanadas sound so delicious! I’ve only ever had savory empanadas, but I could definitely see how filling the dough with bananas would be delicious! Your pictures are beautiful, by the way!

  16. Gio of The Hungry Giant March 16, 2012 @ 2:09 am (#

    I love turon and I love empanadas! Especially if the pastry is incredibly flaky. Sometimes I buy empanadas just so I can eat the crust. haha! For me a great turon needs a generous drizzling of caramel. I agree…the jackfruit makes the turon, well, a turon. :D

  17. Sandra's Easy Cooking March 16, 2012 @ 3:11 am (#

    Sorry ’cause you didn’t feel good but Wow.. what a great idea after! Those look incredible! So delicious..I can imagine the taste! Love the photos Liren, very tempting!

  18. Ambika March 17, 2012 @ 1:05 am (#

    Love these sweet empanadas! I make a similar, but fried version filled with ricotta, nuts and coconut. Try that filling sometime, I am sure you’ll love it!

  19. Suzanne March 17, 2012 @ 3:59 am (#

    Oh these sound so wonderful for a breakfast treat . I’ve never had jack fruit that I know of. I’m think some nutella in there would be yummy too, but I’m always thinking of chocolate !

  20. Magic of Spice March 17, 2012 @ 5:28 pm (#

    Sorry you have been ill, but glad you are feeling better. These empanadas are such a lovely idea and I am sure they taste as good as they look :)

  21. Cristina, from BA to Paris March 17, 2012 @ 6:26 pm (#

    First time I see banana empanadas..Yours look perfect! What an idea!

  22. Dramatic Pancake March 23, 2012 @ 10:40 pm (#

    Liren, how did I miss these?! I remember you mentioning them to me and I am SO happy you posted the recipe! Cannot wait to try this.

  23. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 21, 2012 @ 12:21 pm (#

    These sound so good! A great way to feel better. I just need to know what jackfruit is… And you introduced me to Dramatic Pancake, great site!

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