Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mini Gluten-free Pumpkin Salted Caramel Turnovers (aka Pumpkin Cajeta Empanadas)

I'm already thinking about which Christmas CD I'm going to start listening to first, come October 31st. (Technically, it's not a CD. It's a download or one of the many holiday mixes on itunes, but I can't bring myself to stop saying CD. :P) I figure, if Costco has their Christmas stuff up, then I'm already behind!

Holiday menu plans are already in the works. I'm actually considering making these empanadas instead of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. They travel a lot easier and there's no slicing required. (I still don't own a pie/cake cutter.)

What will be on your holiday menu this year?

My husband's been taking sweets to work every Friday, because Friday is his official "cheat day," it's also my baking day. (Well, some of the work usually begins on Thursday.) It was tough to share these ;), but they were a hit. A few folks already asked for the recipe. Here I am posting it almost a week later (sorry!). I'm happy to report that I left the few leftover turnovers/empanadas out overnight/uncovered and they weren't stale, stiff, or dry.

Flakey and good, with a pumpkiny center that was still moist.

I think this is my favorite dessert so far.

This recipe makes about 24, unless you make them huge. (The photo above depicts a huge one that I baked for the hubby and I so we could eat it with ice cream on top!) You'll have about half the filling left after. Tips for what to do with it? Mix it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream for a pumpkin caramel milk shake. Or add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to it, heat it briefly, then mix everything to enjoy it as a pumpkin caramel pudding :).

The filling is thicker than pumpkin pie filling, almost custardy. I made it that way so that it wouldn't sneak out of the pastry during the baking process. It worked perfectly!

To make the dough, view this danish recipe but use 1/4 cup almond meal instead of 1/4 cup potato starch.

Also, I really like how this video explains how to roll out the dough. I rolled out the dough (and butter dough ball :) like this. I didn't understand a word, but it's a great video tutorial, still :P.

Then....use a small glass with about a 3 inch diameter to make the circles. Flatten them out a bit, add about 3/4 TBSP of filling on half the circle, then fold over and pinch the sides closed or seal with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the pastries with cinnamon butter. To make the cinnamon butter I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar to taste for every 8 pastries, and I brushed them right before baking (it's better to do it a little at a time like this because it will harden as it cools). Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, on the middle rack, in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 16 minutes.

Pumpkin Caramel Filling:
1 can pumpkin
1 13.4 ounce can of Nestle's dulce de leche (this one)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Combine pumpkin and dulce de leche in a sauce pan over low heat. While constantly stirring, cook on medium-low until the dulce de leche is completely melted into the pumpkin; stir in pumpkin pie spice. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes, very slowly sprinkle in the corn starch while stirring (too quickly and it'll get lumpy). Raise heat to medium and reduce while continually stirring for 5 minutes. Set aside, stir in heavy cream and coarse salt.