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Reposteria (1919) – Empanaditas Julieta / Little empanadas

March 22, 2013
Reposteria (1919) by Julia  Sánchez Rangel. [TX773.S26 1919] UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Reposteria (1919) by Julia Sánchez Rangel. [TX773.S26 1919] UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Sánchez Rangel, Julia. Reposteria. Manuscript Cookbook. University of Texas at San Antonio. [TX773 .S26 1919]

Continuing my exploration of empanadas, I found this recipe in one of UTSA’s recently digitized manuscript cookbooks. Reposteria was written in a clean hand by Julia Sánchez Rangel in 1919, with recipe titles marked by decorative underlining and the use of distinct ink colors in parts of the notebook. A complete digitized facsimile is available here.

Although similar to the Tex-Mex empanadas prepared earlier this month, these are unusual for their use of tomatillos in the liquid mixed into the dough.

Reposteria (1919) by Julia Sánchez Rangel. [TX773.S26 1919] UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Reposteria (1919) by Julia Sánchez Rangel. [TX773.S26 1919] UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

An interesting linguistic tidbit from this recipe is the phrase “se barnizan con huevo cortado,” which literally translates as “glaze with cut egg.” Although neither I nor the few people I consulted with have encountered the phrase before, the context suggests that it means to brush the empanadas with a beaten egg yolk.  It isn’t clear whether “huevo cortado” was a colloquial phrase at one time, or simply an idiosyncratic way of describing the process of breaking up an egg yolk with a fork that Julia used as a memory aid in her notes.

Empanaditas Julieta

  • Manteca              260 g.
  • Azucar                  250 g.
  • Harina                   500 g.
  • Yema                     1
  • Mermelada lata 1            
  • Sal                          1 teaspoon
  • Tomates              8

Se hace la fuente en el centro de la harina se le pone la Manteca, la sal, incorporan todo bién. Luego se machacan los tomates en una poca de agua y se le va poniendo la que necesite hasta formar una pasta suave, se deja reposar 10 minutos se extiende con el palote de ½ ctm de grueso se cortan circular y se rellenan de mermelada ó picadillo se doblan se barnizan con huevo cortado y se meten al horno (cuando se relenan de mermelada se bañan de azucar granulada cuando salen del horno). 

Little Empanadas

  • Rolled dough with tomatillos

    Rolled dough with tomatillos

    1 ½ cups lard

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 jar jam
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 tomatillos

Make a well in the center of the flour for the lard and salt and combine well. Mash the tomatillos in a little water and add enough to the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Let rest for 10 minutes before rolling out to 1-2 centimeters thick and cut into circles. Fill with jam or ground beef, fold over, and brush with beaten egg. Bake in the oven and (if filling with jam) sprinkle with sugar when they are done.

Cook’s Note: In the absence of instructions on temperature, I baked these at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which seemed to work fine.

In the Kitchen



The basic steps of this recipe were quite simple, but a few crucial pieces of information were missing. I initially wasn’t sure how to interpret the direction to roll out 1/2 ctm. Half a centimeter seemed too thin to be possible, but half an inch was clearly too thick. I settled on about 1/4 inch, but that really did not work very well. My circles were too thick to fold easily and the jam squeezed out at the edges. I think rather than 1/2 of anything, the slash was meant to signify 1 to 2 centimeters (between 1/16 and 1/8th inch), which I think would definitely have worked better.

The recipe also did not indicate the size of circles to cut for the empanadas. Because the recipe title used the diminutive form of the word, and because a full-sized empanada seemed like it would hold too much jam for one sitting, I used a 2 3/4 in. biscuit cutter and made tiny  empanaditas. Each one held about 1 teaspoon of jam.

The taste of the tomatillos was not overly noticeable at all once the empanadas were baked. They added a slight sour undertone that complimented the sweetness of the strawberry and boysenberry jam that I used as filling. Although these little jam tarts were received well by my taste-testers, I personally preferred the fluffy texture of Tex-Mex pumpkin empanadas.

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