Empanadas are a classic staple of Latin American cuisine but some of the fillings can be a bit overwhelming for small kids who have yet to develop a palate for “grown-up” flavors. For this reason, I created these simple but totally yummy fillings that children love. Little hands have no trouble mixing the filling. Older kids will love rolling and measuring the pastry before cutting it to the right size. Younger children can help “paint” the pastry with egg wash and to crimp the empanadas with the tines of a fork. All children, young and old, will love the taste of these flaky ham and cheese pockets.
Read Related: Easy Empanadas with the Empanada Fork!
HAM & CHEESE EMPANADAS
½ pound finely chopped ham (your kid’s favorite)
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP honey mustard
2 ready-to-bake sheets of puff pastry, thawed according to package directions (about 1 lb.)
Egg wash made with one beaten egg, plus one tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ham, cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard; chill for 30 minutes.
- On a clean and lightly floured surface, roll out one puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square; cut it into 9 (4-inch by 4-inch) squares, using a sharp knife or a pastry cutter. Place 2 packed tablespoons of the ham mixture on the center of each square; brush the edges of each pastry square with egg wash and fold the pastry over the filling to form a triangle.
- Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges decoratively. Place pastry triangles on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet.
- When all the empanadas are filled, bake them until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: When working with children, you may need to flour the surface area a bit more when you roll out the pastry; also, sprinkle the top of the pastry with a bit of flour so that the rolling pin doesn’t stick. If the pastry is getting too warm, place it in the fridge for a few minutes. These empanadas can be frozen on the prepared sheet unbaked. Once solid, transfer them to containers and keep frozen for up to 2 months. Add about 5-8 more minutes to the baking time, or bake until golden.