Most of us remember the most amazing smells of freshly baked cinnamon and pumpkin empanadas in Licha’s kitchen growing up so it’s really a special treat that her daughter Carmen Guel is willing to pass it on to new generations. 

Dough (can be doubled to make more)
  • 2-1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
Fresh Pumpkin Filling (or you can use the canned version)
  • 1-2 whole pumpkins
  • 1 package cinnamon sticks
  • 1 package cloves, whole or ground
  • 1-2 packages brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Canned Filling (you can make without raisins & nuts if you choose)
  • 16 oz canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves, ground
Cinnamon Sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Combine flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Beat melted butter, milk, and 1 egg in a small bowl.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Form into a ball and cover. Chill for one hour.

Fresh Pumpkin Filling

In a large pot, boil water with 2 cinnamon sticks, a few whole cloves, and a couple tbsp brown sugar.  Cut the pumpkin in large pieces, remove the insides and place in boiling water until soft.  Remove from the water and drain in a strainer.  Spread pumpkin pieces on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and brown sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool.  Scoop the meat out of pumpkin shells and drain again in strainer. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin meat with 1 tsp ground clove, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and as much brown sugar (1 cup) and granulated sugar (1/2 cup) to reach your desired sweetness.

Canned Pumpkin Filling

Combine pumpkin and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add nuts, raisins, lemon juice, water, cinnamon, and cloves.  Mix well. Divide the dough into 12-14 portions. On a lightly floured board, roll out each portion into 6 inch circles.  Place scant 1/4 cup or one large tbsp full of pumpkin mixture on each circle.  Moisten edges with water. Fold in half, pressing edges with a fork to seal or scallop sealed edges by indenting at 3/4 inch intervals.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Beat the remaining egg and brush on top of the empanadas.  Mix cinnamon sugar and sprinkle over the empanadas.  Poke each with a fork three times.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.


The year before she passed, mom taught me how to make these pumpkin empanadas step-by-step.  I’ll never forget making these with my mom.”

-Carmen Guel

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