A while back a coworker of mine was telling me that she loves Quince Paste and how she was having a hard time finding it here in Washington. Of course in one of my vagabond travels came across some and surprised her with it. She told me that she was going to make a Manchego Cheese and Quince Paste Empanada with it. It sounded lovely, and while I was shopping at the Pike Place Market I came across some. I already had empanadas on my mind and thought I would give my hand at a sweet one too. My result: Quince and Goat Cheese Empanadas. Not too far from my friends version; but being a fan of Goat Cheese I felt it was fitting, and that the texture of the fresh Goat Cheese verses the Quince Paste would be nice inside the pastry pocket of the empanada. If you are not familiar with Quince I can only describe it as one of those food gems that you get every once in a while. They are not the easiest to grow and they have a perfume like quality to them and that is why it is usually added into other fruit dessert dishes. Although a quince is a yellow like orange in color and come from the apple and pear families, when it is cooked for a great deal of time it develops a beautiful reddish hue. It is just an admirable fruit and great addition to a cheese plate. Although it is not the easiest fruit to get in the U.S. in its ripe form ; that is why it is so commonly seen as a jelly, jam, paste, or glaze. If you have not tried any form of Quince yet, I suggest you do so… do not think you will be disappointed.
Goat Cheese and Quince Paste Empanadas (makes about 12)
(This recipe is much simpler then my previous Empanadas)
1 - 4 oz. package of Goat Cheese (Chevre)
Quince Paste (depending on what you can find, at least 4 oz.)
1 recipe Of Empanada Dough, recipe to follow
1 Egg for Egg Washing
First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Lay your Empanada dough rounds on you counter. Brush the edge of your rounds with a bit of your egg wash. In the center of your dough place a slice of quince paste down and on top of that a scoop of Goat Cheese (sizing will depend on the size of your dough round, you will have to judge accordingly). With your fingers press your rounds together to seal shut. You can also use a small fork to press the edges to ensure they are sealed.
Then, when your Empanadas are sealed you can place then on a sheet tray spacing them out accordingly. Brush them with a bit of your egg wash and bake about 20 minutes, rotating half way through. You want them to be golden, but not too brown. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.
Note: This recipe can be served more like a dessert if you where to dust it with powdered sugar once out of the oven. If you are looking for more of an appetizer upi can place it with some cured ham and some nuts.