Canastitas Caprese: Open Faced Empanadas, photo by Hispanic Kitchen

Canastitas Caprese: Open Faced Empanadas

Cuisine: Argentinean
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 canastitas
These empanada baskets, or canastitas caprese, are ideal for cheesy fillings because they don’t burst when you pop them in the oven.

Canastitas Caprese (canastitas means "little baskets" in Spanish) make a great alternative to traditional empanadas, and they’re a bit quicker to put together. The classic combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella brings fresh, bright flavors.

Feel free to use any filling, just as you would with empanadas. 

These make an excellent appetizer or a light meal when combined with a green salad. ¡Buen provecho!

Ingredients

  • 12 empanada shells
  • 3 small tomatoes chopped
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese diced
  • 10 basil leaves chiffonade (thinly sliced)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Have a cupcake baking dish ready, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Form a ½-inch pleat by pinching together the side of the empanada shell. Fold the pleat over and press firmly against the edge of the dough. Continue to pleat and fold the empanada shell in this manner until it forms a basket shape. Place it on the baking sheet, covered with a slightly dampened dish towel. Repeat the shaping process with the rest of the empanada shells.Form a ½-inch pleat by pinching together the side of the empanada shell. Fold the pleat over and press firmly against the edge of the dough. Continue to pleat and fold the empanada shell in this manner until it forms a basket shape. Place it on the baking sheet, covered with a slightly dampened dish towel. Repeat the shaping process with the rest of the empanada shells.
  3. Evenly divide half of the cheese cubes among the canastitas, followed by all of the chopped tomato and basil.Evenly divide half of the cheese cubes among the canastitas, followed by all of the chopped tomato and basil.
  4. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt and a grind of pepper over each canastita. Top the canastitas with the remaining cheese.Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt and a grind of pepper over each canastita. Top the canastitas with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the dough and cheese turn lightly golden brown.
  6. Allow the canastitas to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef Notes

Roma tomatoes work well in this recipe because they’re not too juicy, but you can use any sort of flavorful garden tomato for the canastitas. You may want to deseed and/or drain the juice from the tomatoes once they’re chopped to keep the canastitas from getting too watery. Be generous with the filling — the ingredients cook down considerably in the oven.

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