"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Perfect Empanada de Kaliskis Dough

The spirals of flaky empanada de kaliskis
Bago ang lahat, salamat po sa mga loyal na tagasubaybay na nakakaalalang magpipindot ng mga gugelads ko. :)

I had been experimenting with different recipes for this type of empanada which reminds me of my favorite empanadas in the Philippines I used to buy from Merced Bakedshop. I had no idea it was what some regions in the Philippines would call empanada de kaliskis. And I don't know how the consistency is in those regions, because apparently, they don't taste as good as they look like. However, as far as my tastebuds remember, the gorgeous scale-like appearance, flaky, yet very tender dough of empanadas that I bought from Merced Bakeshop then was what I would call as the perfect empanada crust.

Juicy chicken filling from leftover roast turkey
I was browsing a Malaysian food blog sometime in September when I chanced upon the gorgeous layers of what looked like empanada, but they called it spiral (curry) puffs. More searches led me to other sites showing detailed photos of how to create the layers, and they called it in their native tongue as "karipap". Around December, I tried a recipe but it did not get my approval, so no empanadas for Christmas give-aways. That recipe had egg, but it resulted to chewy yet flaky dough which was not really tender for me, and the flavor was so-so. (I am not talking about the filling here; just the dough. Filling is easy enough to make and to adjust according to taste preference). It probably is the same recipe used by the ones featured by Market Manila here.

I got back to trying out such recipes this January when I chanced upon a Filipino blog post on empanada de kaliskis. This second recipe I tried left a very greasy feel to my mouth, albeit flaky and tender enough. While my kids liked them, it was not what I was looking for, so my search continued.

So, it took me a total of three recipes to finally settle for this one below which I would consider the closest to what I am craving for. The characteristic appearance and flaky layers are a result of overlapping water dough and oil dough. I am settling for this one, as this was not only easy to manipulate and fill (did not easily crack), it also had a seemingly good proportion of flour to lard (or shortening) that (1)-the oil dough did not easily leak out of the water dough despite repeated rolling/folding, (2)-the dough remained intact while filling and crimping, and (3)-the cooked empanada was not too fragile to handle. I am not sure if substituting shortening would give the same results, but I am very satisfied with the results I got using pork leaf lard (that I rendered myself) for the dough, then using pork lard from fat back (that I rendered too) for deep frying. (I know, it is cholesterolific, but hey, no trans-fat here!). One of these babies is enough to satisfy a hungry tummy during merienda.

Now like most Filipino goodies I have on my site, this recipe and method are here for the purpose of (1) satisfying my gluttony for punishment hunger for challenges, (2) satisfy my curiosity on how things are made, and (3) making use of leftovers. So I probably will not be making this too often (as is the case with siopao and hopia and monay and siomai and lumpia and the other labor-intensive, time-consuming recipes). I do hope, however, that some entrepreneur (especially in the Philippines) will find this helpful.

This post has two parts: dough and filling. Filling recipe way below.

The dough recipe here is courtesy of ch3rri-blossom for her flaky taro mooncake recipe. Although she cut both water and oil doughs into 4, I chose to make mine one whole piece, so as to have more open edges (her 4 pieces each cut into 3 led to the end slices having only one open end, so that the un-open end had the water dough covering the oil dough so less layering effect on that -- don't bother to try to understand this if it confuses you).

I did not bother to convert to cups. So get yourself some digital kitchen scale with grams/oz measurement. And please do not ask me for the conversions. I am sure you can use google for that purpose if you really want to try this.

Water Dough:

200 gm all purpose flour
1/2 tsp white vinegar
50 gm pork lard (or shortening)
30 gm sugar
100 gm water

Oil Dough:

180 gm all purpose flour
100 gm pork lard (or shortening)


1. For water dough, mix water, sugar, and vinegar. Mix in flour then add pork lard (or shortening). Knead to a soft dough. Wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
2. For oil dough, use a food processor to blend well (use short bursts to make it crumb-looking).
3. Use a rolling pin to flatten water dough (please see slideshow below). Distribute oil dough on half of water dough. Cover the oil dough with the other half of water dough so the water dough completely envelopes oil dough. Leave as little of the water dough at the edges just so you can seal water dough nicely all around oil dough.
4. Flatten and pop any bubble, but seal tightly so oil dough does not leak out.
5. Fold into thirds (the ends of the long rectangle) then fold in two so you end up with a squarish form. Flatten again to make it rectangular then fold in two again to make it square.
6. Flatten again to make it rectangular, about 9x13, then roll like jelly roll to form a log using the longer side.
7. Tap the ends of the log to make them flatter before starting to slice.
8. Slice every 3/4" to 1 inch (or slice and fill one at a time).
9. Use your palm to initially flatten, then use the rolling pin. Flatten the edges more since those are going to be crimped/pleated (and therefore, if you make it thick at the start, pleating will make it thicker). The middle should be thick enough so it does not break open when you put the filling in.
10. Place about 1 tbsp of filling. Pinch the edges and pleat/crimp. See here for a demo.
11. Deep fry in 375 deg F oil for about 2 minutes, then drain on paper towel.

After frying two batches, I wrapped each individually then froze for future merienda use (or to add to the stock, possibly to cook when we have another gathering). For frozen ones, what I probably will do is to deep fry for two minutes and finish cooking the filling by placing them on a rack in a heated oven (350 deg F, partially open).

Video coming up as soon as youtube lets me upload it, or as soon as facebook finishes uploading. Video is now available to make it clearer. Please note that this video is my second try of making this kaliskis, and I used a method that I typically do with pie crusts: mix flour with lard using gloved hands (help prevent too much melting).

If you are interested in the filling, here's how I made it.
Roughly chop some turkey leftover meat (about 2 cups).
Dice potatoes and carrots; boil in chicken stock for 10 minutes. Drain.
Chop about 1/4 cup of raisins.
Heat up some turkey gravy (about 1 cup) then add the meat and veggies. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
Cool completely (easier to scoop it up to fill the dough when it is chilled in the fridge first).


  1. This looks beautiful and tasty! If it took you several attempts to get it just the way you like (with all your skill), I'm not sure I'm ready to try this myself. But I'm going to bookmark this page for the future!

  2. Wow, that's impressive Manang. Such talent! Dapat magbigay ka ng cooking classes!
    I will bookmark this. It looks labour intensive but empanadas are worth every effort!

  3. Parang procedure ng hopia with the water dough and oil dough, ano? I can see how labor-intensive it is to make this, but you did good as always, Manang! I love the crispy crust.

  4. That look yummy! Check out the ensaymada I made using your recipe...

  5. Hi Manang,
    This is the empanada crust that I really like,I hope I will have an energy to do this :) Ang tiyaga mo talaga, I'm proud of you.I do not have a pork lard, masarap din kaya kahit na shortening ang gamitin ko?Please advise.Thanks.

  6. Did you try Betty q's dough recipe in the comment section of Market Manila blog linked in this entry? Using crisco or pork lard was supposed to give a flaky crust but I'm not really fan of flaky empanada because it's messy to eat.

  7. Wow Manang, I admire your patience. The empanada kaliskis looks yummy. I agree that this is similar to making hopia.

    BTW, I'll email you the recipe I have which is more complicated than this one.

  8. Hi TN,
    It was not the ease ordifficulty of how to make it that I had 3 attempts at this. Rather, it was getting the right texture and the taste of the outcome, and the ease of manipulating the dough when making the layers and filling it. I am telling you, it is not that hard, but I admit it is time-consuming.

    I owe it to the other bloggers to gain the skills to make this, and to ch3rri to have the right recipe.

    Oo, parang hopia with some twist. I love crispy and tender and flaky crust, and this one is it!

    i think shortening will work (sensya na sa tagal ng sagot ko ha...busy working lately). Both pork lard and shortening have no water content, so that should do ok.

    I have not tried Betty q's recipe. I saw it quite late, as I was already itching to try this third recipe. And when I did, my satisfaction was appeased and now my eyes are closed to anything else. Time to move on to another interest. :)

    Just out of curiosity, sure please email me the recipe. Although I might not have the gumption to try it since I like this recipe now.

  9. Hi Manang!

    I made this dough for the March Kulinarya Challenge. I used shortening but not crisco, local brand here in Davao as it was the only one available in the shelves..it didn't combine well when I folded/knead it, i flattened the disc not on the other side kasi ngdidisintegrate sya, so I didn't achieve the "kaliskis" look but when you bite into the empanada you can see the layers...parang hopia..which is still lovely and i love the taste and texture..I will be making this again till I get the kaliskis maybe using a different brand?.. or pork lard like what you used. =)

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks for posting this recipe. Your blog is really very helpful.

    I tried making it today and my empanadas did not quite look like yours.

    As soon as I put them in the cooking oil, the outer layer disintegrated and the flour just floated around. The oil soon became very "cloudy" and it would not cook the rest.

    My water dough was not very strong. It looked rough as compared to yours on the slideshow. The oil dough kept on "leaking" out.

    What do you think I am doing wrong?


  11. PG,
    Could it be that the water dough was not kneaded enough? Or not protected by plastic wrap while letting it rest for 30 minutes (so that it dried out)? Or the resting time was not enough?
    Re oil dough...short bursts (1-second pressing on the button then rest, then press again, and so on), only to mix in food processor. If too long a burst (like 3 secs), the shortening dissolves (due to friction heat) and becomes oil. The resulting consistency will be like paste instead of crumb.

  12. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Yeah, I had a feeling my water dough needed more kneading. I guess I was afraid to "over-knead" it that is why I stopped short of kneading it properly. But when I watch some YouTube videos of puff pastry making, I saw how they "aggressively" kneaded their base dough.

    As for the oil dough, I used a (manual) dough blender to cut in the shortening. I don't have a food processor and I did not want to us my VitaMIx.

    What could be the reason for the oil not cooking the latter batches? Could it the canola oil that I used? I think something went wrong with the frying. The empanada absorbed a lot of the oil.

    I really want to try this again (and again) until I get it right.

  13. Bien, sometimes I use my gloved hands to "cut" the shortening. I found out it is a better way of coming up with crumbly texture rather than two knives or some other manual tools. Also, don't forget that extra sprinkling of flour sometimes is needed to knead properly, and later on to help manipulate the dough.
    I also made mistakes before with such awful consistencies I did not even try to roll the dough into logs. It went to trash right away.

  14. also, I used real pork lard in deep frying (I have read this is the best to use, second is shortening).

  15. I made empanada kaliskis today using a different recipe. I should have watched your slides before making. Yours looks really good. I'll try to roll the dough thinner next time.

  16. I would love to try this recipe, looks the real empanada I knew. It seems a lot of work but you'll surely get praises!

  17. Hi Manang, I tried to make this recipe today.The first dough I did went to the trash.Kasi yung oil dough lumalabas sa water dough when I roll it with the rolling pin.Plus my water dough it does not look like softer than yours,maybe I need to knead more to make it softer. But it was good when I fried. Maybe I will try again.

  18. Hi Manang, I just want to ask you...How long do you have to knead the water dough? I mean how many minutes?Please advise.Thanks.

  19. Hi Luz,
    Maybe you can try to cut the shortening/lard into the flour first before adding the rest of the ingredient, enough to make a soft dough, with your hands gloved. Then let the dough rest.
    I will see if I will have the time to make this soon...then I will attempt to make a video.

  20. I will try to do it again..because I have more fillings left.When you say cut shortening into the flour... do you use your glove hands right?And I will look forward to watch your upcoming video soon :). Thanks a lot.

  21. Luz,
    I will probably do this tomorrow morning. Not sure when I will be able to post the video. I will try my best to get it online before this week ends.

  22. Hi Luz,
    kahapon ko lang nagawa yung video pero kelangan pa i-edit para di mahaba. Kaso mo, yung laptop (where the video is), hindi makaconnect sa internet. I will see if I can find a solution so that I can upload the video after editing...pasensya na ha.

    Anyway, I did approach like I how I approach pie crust and it worked just fine. I used my gloved hands para imix yung flour with lard until crumbly and dating. Then hinalo ko yung water/vinegar mixture gradually hanggang I had soft dough (I did not put all; I stopped when the dough seemed like it would hold together when compacted together), tapos konting knead until pliable then rest.
    Then for the oil dough, I also used gloved hand until crumbly, and it also worked ok (probably you can use less lard).
    After 30 minutes of rest, sprinkle flour on your table before rolling the water dough flat. Wisik lang nang wisik ng flour until wide na siya for you to put the oil dough. Then follow the slide show. I will try to upload the vid as soon as I can. In the meantime, I hope the above will suffice kung nagmamadali ka.

  23. Ok lang di ako nagmamadali, I will just wait for the video, I already tried 3x di ko nagugustuhan yung outcome.Pero you gave me an idea about di ko lahat ilagay yung water and vinegar mixture. when I did the last time parang maliit ang water dough ko sa oil dough kasi laging lumalabas yung oil dough ko.Kaya may stock pa ako sa freezer ng empanada.Thank you sa reply mo.

  24. empanada de kaliskis was originated in malolos bulacan just a trivia 4 dat. the luks wer so oishisoo! delicious!

  25. Manang! I followed your recipe and blogged about it here! Please read it!


  26. Once the emapanadas are cooked, how long do they last at room temperature?

  27. Hi Maria J,
    Sorry I cannot give you an answer to what I have not experimented on or tried. Usually I cook the approximate amount of what we would consume and freeze the rest. If I can predict they will all be eaten in the same day, I let them stay in room temp (after cooling off from deep frying) for additional 4 hours. If I don't think all of them cooked will be consumed, I put in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking those that will not be consumed. WE just reheat in oven toaster when cooled.

  28. Manang,

    I found your video on here


    I'm going through all the posts for reporting and saw this. It looks familiar and true enough, it was copied and pasted on their fraudulent blog.


    PS I'm signed out of blogger kaya anonymous:)

  29. Hi oggi,
    I cannot get to the link you provided. Did you notify the blogger about it? Maybe he/she removed the content already.
    Makarma sana ang loko...

  30. Manang,

    been trying to look for flaky, layered emapanada recipe, until i come accross with yours, i tried making and nakuha ko naman ang flakiness and layer ng empanada, kaya lang during mixing seems parang medyo dry and dough ko so i think i need more water, i used 1/2 cup of water and maybe i was not able to roll it thinly..and maybe i have to adjust or add a little more sugar kc for me medyo matabang sya, but the rest is ok...hurrayyy its my first time and i was happy with the result..thnks Manang for sharing..

  31. Manang,

    Can i use the regular shortening that is being sold locally because Crisco is quite expensive since im selling the empanadas, or db sya flaky and ceispy if i use butter instead? thanks a lot.

  32. Hi Anonymous,
    You sure can! And you can also render your own lard if slaughterhouses are giving away fat from pork.

  33. Hi Anonymous,
    Congrats for your good outcome of the flaky empanada. Sometimes humidity and weather plays a role in the outcome of the dough.
    Maybe next time, you can add teh flour mixture a little bit at a time and stop when you have achieved a good consistency.

  34. Good day Manang,

    first thanks for sharing your recipe of kaliskis empanada, it was a success trying for the first time, i have only one question, ok lang ba na wala ng oil dough? ganun pa rin ba ang result nya if ever? - Zeny

  35. Hi Zeny, the oil dough is responsible for creating d flaky layers. Without it, you will just have a continuous layer of dough.

  36. Good day again Manang,

    Thank you for answering my previous question..(sorry ha dami kong tanong)..The first time i made this flaky empanada i achieved the layered and flakiness of the crust.the only thing was medyo matabang on the inside of the crust, and konti lang ang sweetness sa outer layer, is it possible that i can put also a bit of sugar to oil dough para pagkagat malalasahan ang sweetness nya? or makaka affect ang sugar sa flakiness ng dough? thanks again. - Zeny

  37. Hi Zeny,
    Sa water dough mo lagay yung sugar. Kung sa oil dough mo lalagay, magcacaramelize Lang sya with d oil so lalagkit, and will act as glue that will prevent the flakes from separating. At least that's how I think will happen. So better to add d sugar with the flour for d water dough.

  38. hello po.thnks for sharing this dough recipe ill try this tomorrow.

  39. HI Anonymous. You are welcome! I hope you did okay well.

  40. hi manang. i tried your flaky empanada recipe last night. fried two of the empanadas. soo excited with it. bagong aspiring kusinera pa lang po ako kaya yung pinirito kong empanadas nagkagutaygutay. ate one however nagrumble ang tyan ko. I'm a bit fat sensitive kasi la na akong gallbladder. to make the story short I baked the rest of the empanadas at 200 degree centigrade with egg wash. would you believe it it turned out very, very nice. parang hopia na di ko mawari. thank you for the recipe

  41. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for your feedback, and kudos to you for your bravery in trying this, kahit na, as you said, bagong aspiring kusinera ka pa lang.
    Wala na rin akong GB...haha! But that does not stop me from eating fats and oils. Kahit panay ang trip to the BR. :)

  42. Manag, if you choose to bake this, what the temperature and how many minutes?

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I have not tried to bake this, but if you will, please do not expect the flaky layers to be more pronounced. If I will try to bake this, I probably would use 425ºF to create the "gulat" effect of deep frying then immediately lower the temp down to 325ºF as soon as I place the pan inside, and try to bake for about 10 minutes first, but I will KEEP AN EYE on them so they won't burn (who knows, 10 mins might be too much). Remember that the filling is already cooked, you only need to reheat. The dough is the one you need to cook, so as soon as it is golden brown, remove from the pan already.

  43. Thank you for sharing your recipe, I have been asking and searching but people hold on to their recipes and would not want to share it. God Bless!

    1. Hi Anonymous, Thank you for your note of appreciation! God bless you too!

  44. Manang, I'm looking for an empanada with ground beef filling. Do you have a recipe. By the way, I like this kaliskis dough for empanada. Will try this. Thanks so much for sharing. Do you have a cookbook. I'll be the first one to buy it. = rnmimi64@yahoo.com

    1. Hi Mimi, you are not the first one to ask about a cookbook. Haha! Unfortunately, I lack the time to focus on making it. Maybe once my kids are out of the house and i have no one to cook for, I will turn to writing a cookbook.

  45. Hi Manang! I found your website a few days ago bec. I am looking foe an empanada recipe. I am planning to make it into a business. Is it ok to have a different filling like the Ilocos empanada?It has grated green papaya, mongo and longganisa. I want to make it different. I tried using a different recipe and I used rice flour but the next day it was soggy! I will try your recipe tomorrow and I hope it will be successful. If you freeze the empanada and cook it the next day, do I need to thaw it first before frying or fry it right away? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. God bless. Maria Gemini

  46. Wow you make it look so easy! I will try to make some...Maria


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