Repulgue is a method of folding and crimping the edges of the dough to close an empanada. Well-practiced hands make it look easy, but the skill takes practice. Not only does the empanada need to look beautiful, it needs to hold the fillings in tightly so the empanada doesn’t leak or tear. The traditional braided edge is most common on baked empanadas. Empanada artisans even use the type of braid and shape of the empanada to let you know what's inside.
The skillful hands of artisan empanada makers share these steps to ensure a perfectly sealed work of empanada art!
Just Enough: Everyone wants a plump, well-stuffed empanada, but it's important not to overfill them. You'll end up with a leaky mess in the oven. Place filling in the center of the dough circle, making sure you have a clean margin of dough all the way around. Try not to spill the filling onto the edges of the dough, here’s why - the fat in the filling will make the edges of the dough slippery and they won't be able to seal together well.
Water Seal: Dip your finger in a bowl of water and run your finger along the entire edge of the circle of dough, lightly dampening it. Fold the empanada in half, enclosing the filling, and press the edges together firmly all the way around, lengthening and thinning them slightly as you press them together. Take the time to perform this step carefully, as it will prevent the filling from finding ways to leak out in the oven.
The Fold: To fold the repulgue, think of triangles. Start at one corner of the empanada, and fold a triangle of dough from the seal edge down over itself. Press down to seal it, extended that part of the dough a bit as your press on it, and fold down a second triangle right next to the first. Press it down to seal and repeat, continuing all the way around the edge. The last triangle can be tucked underneath the edge if necessary.
If you are brave enough to give this a try at home, use these tips to ensure your success. If you just want a delicious empanada without the fuss, #eatlazo.