Melissa Rouswell is a Ruby Director with Traveling Vineyard. You might have heard her speak on our Taste of the Business webinars, or seen her friendly smile on our Facebook page. Melissa lives with her family in Houston, Texas, and loves the Wine Guide Life because it fulfills her love for being social and her love for food and wine! Recently, Melissa and her three daughters shared some family time while baking up a batch of dessert empanadas. We asked Melissa to share her experience on our blog! Read on to hear about her experience making empanadas at home (and the wine she paired with them after the kiddos went to bed!).

I love to cook and try out new recipes. It’s a way of seeing the world through food, and—when paired with the perfect wine—it’s like a trip around the world without leaving your own home!

Since National Empanada Day (April 8) is quickly approaching, I wanted to try out a new recipe. One of the things that is so interesting about these little “hand pies,” besides the fact that they can be made in many different ways, is how they’re found in almost every culture. I’m always trying to find ways to include my three tween-age girls in the kitchen, too, and whipping up some empanadas together seemed as good an excuse as any.

Together, we searched and searched on Pinterest until we found the perfect sweet treat that all three girls could agree on. There are so many ways to make empanadas and even more filling combinations out there! You could spend an entire afternoon pinning! Fortunately, we landed on a fun recipe from Beth Cakes called “Strawberry Cheesecake Empanadas with Nutella Drizzle.” A sweet twist on the traditional empanada.

Once we found this winning recipe, we got to work.

Truth be told, I’m not that much of a baker. I’m always looking for time-saving shortcuts if I can find them! So, we used a pre-made pie crust to make the dough for the empanadas. The girls had so much fun rolling out the dough and cutting out the circles with a cookie cutter.

Although this recipe seemed complex at first glance, it wasn’t!  My girls easily followed the steps themselves, which they of course loved. We cut up and blended the strawberries and added them to a simple syrup to make a nice glaze. Then, we used that to flavor the cream cheese. I like the versatility of this recipe—you could use any berry to change up the flavors! I could see blueberries or blackberries being a huge hit.

Now, let’s talk about Nutella. Believe it or not, I had no previous experience with Nutella, but now I am a fan for LIFE! The chocolate hazelnut sauce in this recipe is amazing. I even saved some for drizzling on ice cream or cheesecake.

Discover more of our hand-picked hand pie recipes on our Pinterest board! 

The girls had the most fun filling the pie crust circles full of cream cheese and strawberry sauce, ever-so-carefully closing the empanadas and crimping the edges so we didn’t lose any of our precious filling! They enjoyed painting the little “hand pies” with an egg wash, which is what makes them come out nice and golden brown.

After baking our empanadas, we drizzled the Nutella sauce and a bit of strawberry sauce on top (some of us more than others!).  I liked the fact that these handhelds were not overly sweet. They were great warm right out of the oven. But …. they were even better that night after the kids were in bed with a glass of bubbly Fissata!  The sweetness of Fissata played very nicely with the strawberry sauce inside and the chocolate drizzle on top!

I hope you’re inspired to try these sweet empanadas (thanks, Beth Cakes!), or just enjoy some with your favorite glass of wine!  We’d love to hear about the homemade empanadas your family enjoys together. Share your recipe with us on our Facebook page and we will let you know what wine pairs best. Happy National Empanada Day!

For more information about pairing food and wine, check out our Sommology page. Or, let a Traveling Vineyard Wine Guide do the work for you—host an in-home wine tasting event. Cheers!

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