I won’t lie. It took me several attempts to make empanadas right. And between those attempts, there were occasions when I felt so frustrated that I bought a set of empanada maker / molder.
But using them wasn’t as easy as I thought either and they sat deep in a kitchen drawer for a long time before I learned to use them. And I did use them for a while. Not anymore though because making empanadas by hand is more fun. But newbies at empanada making who aren’t comfortable yet with folding and crimping the dough by hand might find it useful to know the correct way to use an empanda maker / molder.
So, prepare the empanada dough and roll it out to less than a quater of an inch thick. Use the bottom of the empanada maker to cut out circles. Just press down, twist a little and voila! Naturally, these circles will fit perfectly in the empanada molder.
Lift out a circle of dough and place on the empanada molder. Spoon the filling at the center.
This is the part where I did it wrong in the past. Because I had been so used to making empanada with no tools, I’d lay the dough flat, place the filling on one side, fold over the empty half of the dough over the half with the filling and press and crimp the edges together. I did the same thing with the empanada molder — I tried to fold over half of the dough over the other and made a mess. So, so wrong.
The right way is shown in the photo above. Holding the left and right handles of the empanada molder, lift them at the same time to close the empanada molder and to seal the empanada.
And you have a perfectly formed empanada.
If you’re curious how I finally learned to use the empanda maker / molder, there was a food show back in 2012 that featured a diner that specializes in pierogi — Polish dumplings that look like empanadas but are really different from empanadas. The cook in that diner used an empanada maker to prepare the pierogi and how she used the empanada molder was shown in detail.