It's really tough to edit photos and write about food as tantalizing as these empanadas while in the middle of fasting for a glucose test in the morning. Talk about torture.
The clinic instructions prompted me to have snacks ready for when the test was over, so naturally I've prepped the dough and fixings to put another batch of these kabocha empanadas in the oven as soon as I get home. I'll pack a granola bar for the road, but I'll be dreaming about these flakey pastries for lunch.
Kabocha is an elegant squash that's light and fluffy. Also sometimes referred to as a Japanese pumpkin, it's what you pick up when pumpkin is running rampant on the internet, but you want to be fancy-la.
Or when your #cheesebabygirl is just over 28 weeks along and approximately the size of a kabocha squash. With moving to a new house and starting a new job all in one week (new job!), I got a wee bit behind on the baby-size recipes. I suspect that will be the norm from this point forward, but I'll work in a few here and there. Scroll to the bottom for a list of all the baby-size recipes so far.
Speaking of cheese baby, a group of inspiring women threw me a baby shower in Chico last weekend. My aunt prepared a FEAST of all my favorite foods, and my girl friend Corey took care of all the details from handmade mint & coral decor to match our nursery (which is actually still a storage room) down to a personalized quiz game about me and Lucas as babies (on which I scored embarassingly low) - all with her 3-month old lil' lady strapped to her front. Rockstar.
Among all the ladies who showered us with generous adorable baby gifts, my mom stole the show with SEVEN homemade baby dresses/rompers all made from different calico fabrics and a homemade bath towel apron (don't ask Karen how to make it). And guys, she's still sewing!
Back in the late 80s, she made matching jumpers out of vegetable fabric for the two of us. Imagine a 5-year old in a cutesy gathered skirt jumper, and my mom walking around wearing an identical floor-length one in her size. I've requested a similar set for me and #cheesebabygirl (except please don't do that, mom).
Two more gifts from my BFF Kira arrived in the mail today, both with personalized Amazon gift notes. The first note read: "To the littlest member of my bridal party. Although you were still in your momma's womb, your presence was felt. Now you have a diaper to match the rest of my favorite ladies!" along with a teal cloth diaper to match my bridesmaid dress.
Accompanying a crib mattress, a note read, "Dearest little dreamer. I hope you are a wild dreamer like your momma. Remind me to tell you about the time she spent the night with my foot in her mouth." And the award for most creative use of Amazon gift notes ever goes to the girl who turned a diaper and a mattress into super sweet and heartfelt gifts.
Back to these kabocha empanadas...because my stomach is now GROWLING. While kabocha is a tough beast to butcher, when roasted, its nutrient-rich skin becomes soft and edible, and its bright orange flesh turns oh-so-sweet. The real star of these morsels is the crust, though. I've made my fair share of gluten-free pie doughs, and Pamela's all-purpose flour makes hands-down the flakiest gf crust I've ever eaten.
Bundling the nectarous squash up in this buttery crust with some salty gruyère and thyme, turns it into an addicting savory appetizer worth every ounce of effort (even when three up and disappear into your stomach while being photographed). You can save time on your holiday meal prep by making them a few days ahead and reheating for 8 minutes in the oven!
Here’s an up-to-date list of the baby-by-food sizes so far. The large size jump from week 19-21 marks the point at which she’s measured head to toe versus crown to rump.
- 15 weeks: Chestnut Dutch Baby with Caramelized Nectarines (Nectarine)
- 16 weeks: Sparkling Asian Pear and Mint Iced Tea (Asian Pear)
- 18 & 19 weeks: Heirloom Tomato and Bell Pepper Gazpacho (Bell Pepper & Heirloom Tomato, respectively)
- 21 weeks: Vanilla Bean Haupia Pudding with Caramelized Plantains (Plantains)
- 23 weeks: Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Dill Yogurt Sauce (Spaghetti Squash)
- 24 weeks: Butternut Squash & Bacon Deviled Eggs (Slice of Bacon)
- 28 weeks: Kabocha Empanadas with Gruyère & Thyme (Kabocha Squash)
- 1¼ cups Pamela's All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
- 8-10 tablespoons ice water
- 1 small kabocha squash (1-1.5lb and you'll still probably have some left over!), seeds discarded and cut into ¼ to ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup shredded gruyère cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 large)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Salt & pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pulse together the Pamela's All-Purpose Flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. (If you don't have a food processor, you can whisk by hand).
- Add the cold butter, but don't pulse. One tablespoon at a time, dribble ice water into the food processor, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together when pinched with your fingers. Add water until it just holds together, but is not sticky. If you need more water, add a teaspoon at a time. (If working by hand, mix the butter into the flour with your hands, breaking up the butter until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea. Mix in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just holds together).
- Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling as directed below.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch cutter to cut dough rounds and transfer each round to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps and repeat until you have 10 dough rounds.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread the kabocha squash cubes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil and about ¼ teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork. Place the cooked squash in the refrigerator to cool before filling the empanadas.
- When the dough rounds are ready, place filling components in the following on one half of the round: about 1 teaspoon of shredded gruyère, 1 tablespoon cooked kabocha squash, 1 teaspoon chopped shallot, a pinch of minced garlic, and leaves from half a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small bowl.
- Lightly brush the edge of one half of one dough round with the egg wash, fold the round in half around the filling, lightly crimping the edges together with your fingertips. Repeat with all 10 empanadas.
- Brush the egg wash over the top of each empanada.
- Bake your empanadas for 30-35 minutes rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the tops are lightly golden brown. (Tip: Keep an eye on your empanadas after 20 minutes, as the color of your baking sheet can vary the baking time!).
- Serve warm.