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“Pumpkin empanadas may sound like an unusual combination,” says Clark Frasier, who, along with Mark Gaier, co-owns the organic eatery Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine. “But they’re always a huge hit.” In fact, the toques are such proponents of the vegetable that they will host a pumpkin festival dinner this season, complete with its very own patch, on the premises of their other restaurant, Summer Winter, in Burlington, Mass.
Yields 32 small empanadas, or 6 servings
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small squares
2 large egg yolks
2 to 3 tbs ice water
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse a few times to cut the butter into the flour. Add the egg yolk and combine. Continue to pulse while slowly adding water until the ingredients start to gather.
Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead to bring together. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour, or for up to one day.
For the filling:
1 small pumpkin or other winter squash, about 3 lbs
2 tbs olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle flesh with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place it skin side up on a cookie sheet and roast until the flesh is very soft, about 30 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or a blender, until smooth. Measure 2 cups puree into a bowl.
Warm the remaining olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring until translucent, about four minutes. Scrape into the pumpkin puree, add the thyme and season with salt and pepper if needed. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the puree and refrigerate until cool.
To assemble and cook the empanadas:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
On a floured work surface, cut the dough cylinder into 1-inch sections. Using a rolling pin, roll each section into a round about 1/8-inch thick and 3 inches in diameter.
Place 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree in the center of each round. Brush the edges with egg, then fold the circles in half, pressing out any air. Carefully crimp the edges together with the back of a fork.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the empanadas half an inch apart on the sheets. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.