Costa Rican Pineapple Empanadas

costa rican pineapple empanadas with large bowl of fresh pineapple

These Costa Rican pineapple empanadas (empanadas de piña) combine a homemade pastry dough and sweet pineapple preserves baked to perfection for a delightful baked dessert. With just a few ingredients- flour, margarine (or butter), whipping cream and pineapple jam, these are a delicious and fun baking project for any time of year.
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About Empanadas de Piña

Pineapple is a staple Costa Rican ingredient- not only are some of the sweetest pineapples in the world grown and exported from Costa Rica, but the fruit is also sold literally everywhere in Costa Rica at dirt cheap prices.

That means all kinds of delicious recipes with pineapple- or pina as we say in Spanish. Fresh pineapple juice and fresh slices of pineapple before breakfast, Costa Rican fruit salad, pina coladas… 

And then there are the homemade pineapple preserves that grace literally every single baked good- including these sweet baked empanadas. 

costa rican pineapple empanadas with large bowl of fresh pineapple

Many families will make their own pineapple preserves, and you can also buy them in bulk from bakeries around the country. So it’s only natural pineapple would grace the insides of empanadas in Costa Rica.

Pineapple empanadas can be found year-round at bakeries all across Costa Rica (and much of Latin America), and many ticos will make them in small batches at home as well. This recipe uses the traditional Costa Rican 3-2-1 empanada recipe for the empanada dough, and then filled with pineapple preserves and baked to golden perfection.

Don’t confuse these dessert empanadas with the fried savory empanadas made from corn dough. 

Costa Rican Pineapple Empanada Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached white flour, sifted
  • 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 2 sticks margarine – room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 jar pineapple preserves

Kitchen Tools

  • large mixing bowl
  • tortilla press
  • large baking sheet, lightly dusted with flour
  • small spoon
  • fork

Instructions

Using your hands, combine the flour and margarine in a small mixing bowl. A tablespoon or two at a time, add the whipping cream. Continue to use your hands to mix until a slightly sticky pastry dough is formed. It will be the consistency of a pie crust.

On a floured surface, roll all of the dough into 1.5 inch balls. Place the dough balls in another mixing bowl. You will have about 30-40 dough balls.

Place a piece of plastic on each side of the tortilla press, completely covering the circular surface. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the press. I either cut up plastic shopping bags or Ziploc bags in order to do this.

Press each ball of dough into a flat surface and set aside. I keep a bunch of extra pieces of plastic so that I can just leave the flat empanadas on the plastic.

Once you have pressed the empanadas, place a small amount of the pineapple filling just to the left or right of the center of the circle of empanada dough. At this point, you can preheat the oven.

Fold the circle in half and seal the empanada shut. Use a fork to press lines around the edge of the empanada. Use your finger to rub some of the egg wash on the top of the empanda so it doesn’t burn.

Place the empanada on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the dough has been used. Put the pan into the heated oven.

Bake the empanadas at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm to your best friends. They will love you for it.

Additional Costa Rican Dessert Recipes:

Substitutions

You can substitute butter or lard for the margarine, but the color will vary slightly. I love the taste of these empanadas when made with butter, personally. But ticos scoff at the color since it is lighter.

Variations

So many! The most popular empanadas at Easter time are Costa Rican empanadas de chiverre. You can also do Costa Rican dulce de leche empanadas, coconut empanadas, guava empandas. 

Other countries will make this same recipe with cheese, basil, or even pesto inside. I’d love to try these with caramelized apples for fun baked apple empanadas, cherry preserves or even raspberry or strawberry. Yum!

Serving Suggestions

Serve hot or cold with Costa Rican coffee, Costa Rican agua dulce, or chamomile tea. Preferably with company!

Some people sprinkle these empanadas with cinnamon sugar or just plain granulated sugar, but Costa Rican’s usually don’t I did it just for the photos. 

FAQ

How long does the empanada dough keep? – You can make the dough ahead of tie and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container. I recommend bringing the dough back up to room temperature before forming the empanadas.

Can I freeze pineapple empanadas? – Yes! You can freeze them before baking or after. just bring them to room temperature before baking or serving. I would defrost them in the fridge before baking or serving.

Can I reheat the empanadas? – Yes. We do sometimes in the microwave- 25 seconds on half power, or you could put them in the oven on low broil for about a minute. I’d move the baking rack down to the second or third rung.

Our most popular Costa Rican recipes:

Printable Recipe

Yield: 30 empanadas

Baked Pineapple Empanadas - Costa Rica

Baked Pineapple Empanadas - Costa Rica

Combine flour, margarine, whipping cream and pineapple preserves for an easy and delicious hand pie recipe traditional to Costa Rica- baked pineapple empanadas.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour, sifted
  • 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 2 sticks margarine - room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 jar pineapple preserves
  • Kitchen Tools
  • large mixing bowl
  • tortilla press
  • large baking sheet, lightly dusted with flour
  • small spoon
  • fork

Instructions

  1. Using your hands, combine the flour and margarine in a small mixing bowl.
  2. A tablespoon or two at a time, add the whipping cream.
  3. Continue to use your hands to mix until a slightly sticky pastry dough is formed.
  4. It will be the consistency of a pie crust.
  5. On a floured surface, roll all of the dough into 1.5 inch balls. Place the dough balls in another mixing bowl. You will have about 30-40 dough balls.
  6. Place a piece of plastic on each side of the tortilla press, completely covering the circular surface. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the press. I either cut up plastic shopping bags or Ziploc bags in order to do this.
  7. Press each ball of dough into a flat surface and set aside. I keep a bunch of extra pieces of plastic so that I can just leave the flat empanadas on the plastic.
  8. Once you have pressed the empanadas, place a small amount of the pineapple filling just to the left or right of the center of the circle of empanada dough.
  9. At this point, you can preheat the oven.
  10. Fold the circle in half and seal the empanada shut. Use a fork to press lines around the edge of the empanada.
  11. Use your finger to rub some of the egg wash on the top of the empanda so it doesn't burn.
  12. Place the empanada on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the dough has been used.
  13. Put the pan into the heated oven.
  14. Bake the empanadas at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  16. Serve warm to your best friends. They will love you for it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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