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Caveat Emptor: Pele's Empanadas

Kiluea Crater, The Big Island, Hawaii

I can't successfully toss an empanada from California to Hawaii in offering, but I'm willing to make publishing this my intent as a thanks to Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. From the lava flows in Hawaii, these gorgeous and sweet Ohelo berries (native to Hawaii) spring. They are  related to the blueberry and the cranberry. If you don't want to buy online or visit the Big Island personally, you can substitute.

Ohelo berries, Hawaii
Image:  Wikimedia Commons
Ohelo berries are just one of hundreds of jam varieties you'll find at Mr. Ed's where the unsuspecting traveler left agog at the bakery's Great Wall of Jams in the Honumu, Hawaii. Plan to stop there on your way to or heading back from Akaka Falls. And they will also assist as you struggle to pronounce the names of all the local ingredients. Good luck with that. Pronunciation aside, Mr. Ed's is a Foodie haven not to be missed.

Wall of Jams Mr. Ed's Bakery, The Big Island Hawai'i
Half of the Great Wall of Jams at Mr. Ed's Bakery
I've given the berries a new incarnation here as part of the filling for Pele's Empanadas. Legends of the Hawaiian people dictated that the berries were not to be eaten without first offering some to the Goddess Pele--bakers beware. So here's hoping Ed and his jam making team did such offerings.

Filling Ingredients:
12 oz. canned, boxed or fresh-baked Sugar Pie pumpkin (slice across the equator, cover rim with olive oil and bake sliced halves down at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until tender, cool, scrape and puree)
1 100mL box of Kara Coconut Cream
3 tablespoons of Ohelo berry jam
2 tbsp. corn starch
1.5 tbsp. shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
2 Pre-made pie crusts (or you can make your own as sometimes freshness is an issue with boxed)
1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Mix together baked, cooled pumpkin with ingredients ending with the nutmeg. 
  • Roll out pie crusts and use a mid-size (cereal bowl serving size) bowl to shape them into rounds.
  • Place 1-2 tablespoons of mixture in the center of the rounds and fold in half for half moon shape or fold in corners for a more hamentaschen-shaped result.  
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar after cooling. 

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