These empanadas are filled with membrillo./Wikimedia Commons
We’ll wrap up the little desserts of Spain with pastelitos de dulce de membrillo – turnovers with quince paste and Manchego cheese.
Manchego is one of Spain’s iconic cheeses. Made from sheep’s milk in the La Mancha region, it has a salty tang similar to Parmesan cheese, which you could substitute in an emergency. Manchego cheese is available at cheese shops and groceries such as Whole Foods. I’ve also seen it at Trader Joe’s.
Membrillo is a solid gel made of cooked, pureed quince. Membrillo can be found at Spain, a restaurant and deli on Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles, and at other Latino/Hispanic/Mediterranean groceries around LA. I’ve also bought it Altadena Food Fair, an Armenian grocery near my house.
This recipe is from “El Farol Tapas and Spanish Cuisine” by James Campbell Caruso. ISBN: 1586851012. That big online bookseller lists it for sale, but says it takes one to two months to deliver. It may be going out of print soon with a delivery schedule like that.
I batch empanada dough
12 pieces of quince paste, 1/2-inch thick, 2-inch by 2-inch square
12 slices Manchego cheese, ¼-inch thick, 2-inch by 2-inch square
1 egg, beaten and mixed 2 Tbsp. water for egg wash
¼ cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut the dough into 24 3-inch squares.
Lay out 12 squares and brush the edges with egg wash.
Top each of the 12 squares with a piece of quince paste and a slice of manchego cheese.
Place the remaining 12 pieces of dough on top of the cheese slices.
Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the jelly roll pan.
Brush the tops of the empanadas with egg wash.
Bake 20-25 minutes until the crusts are golden brown.
Remove the empanadas to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Dust the empanadas with powdered sugar and sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Serve with strong coffee.
- The original directions instruct that these pastries be deep-fried. If you prefer them fried, heat 1 quart vegetable oil to 350°. Fry for 1 minute until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Fry no more than 4 at a time to maintain oil temperature.
- Use caution when making the crust ahead. Anything with raw eggs in it should be used sooner than later. Consider freezing the empanada dough if you’re not planning on using it until the next day.
Here are two sources for membrillo.