Restaurant Recipes

Ninfa's Banana Empanadas

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Dough makes enough for about 8 to 10 empanadas.


Empanada Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lard, shortening or butter, cut into small bits
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk (optional FOR EACH EMPANADA)
  • 1 (2 1/2 ounce) ball of dough (about the size of an egg)
  • 1 small fresh banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dark seedless raisins
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 egg white, for sealing edges
  • Oil, for frying


  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 slices fresh banana
  • 1 teaspoon chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon dark seedless raisins
  • 4 1/2 ounces vanilla ice cream (1 scoop)
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1/4 cup cajeta sauce (caramel sauce, available in grocery stores or make your own)


Empanada Dough

  1. Dough can be made by hand or in food processor. To make by hand, measure flour and sugar into bowl; stir to mix. Add fat and thoroughly work it into the flour.
  2. Dissolve salt in water (mix with egg yolk, if using), and add to flour mixture; mix to form a medium-stiff dough. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes. If using processor, add flour and sugar to work bowl; pulse briefly. Add fat, then process until it's thoroughly incorporated into the flour.
  3. Dissolve salt in water (mix in egg yolk, if using), and then add through feed tube with machine running. When dough has formed a ball, continue to process to knead dough for 20 seconds. Remove from bowl and knead into a smooth ball. Divide dough into about 8 to 10 equal parts, roll into balls, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to make the dough easier to roll.
  4. For each empanada, roll a ball of dough into a flat round, tortilla-shape, about 8 inches in diameter. (Use a tortilla press, if available.) Place on a hot pan and cook briefly on one side.
  5. On the center of the tortilla, with the cooked side to the inside, put bananas, raisins, pecans and honey. With a small pastry brush, brush egg white around the edges and fold it over to form a half-moon shape. Using a fork, press around the edges to seal.
  6. Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a wide frying pan and heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry empanadas for 2 minutes, turning as necessary, until golden brown. Remove from oil and let drain.


  1. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top, then cinnamon. Garnish with banana slices, pecans, and raisins. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, top with the cherry and accompany with a pitcher of warm cajeta sauce.

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