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MANILA, Philippines – Empanadas – they’re globally loved, but the Philippines takes pride in its own takes on the household meat pie. After first being brought to the Ilocos province by the Spaniards, different regions have been creating their own versions of the originally bright-orange, crunchy snack, stuffed with a variety of meat, seafood, and veggies.
Sweet, savory, flaky, or firm, the Filipino favorite merienda is very adaptable but always easy to enjoy. Its versatility is what motivated Sweet P’s Eats and Treats to create over 30 flavors of the well-loved pie, each one with a flaky and buttery crust. The woman-owned home bakery located at LA Montana Estates in Antipolo, Rizal also sells homemade Tamales de Antipolo.
Though Sweet P’s started in 2017, the empanadas were only introduced in 2020, during the pandemic.
“Because we were locked down and had nothing better to do, I started with the regular empanadas with the bread-y type of dough then experimented with the laminated dough,” Sweet P told Rappler.
“This is the flaky kind, with layers. The layers are formed because there are two types of dough used for the crust.”
“The dough is harder to make than the usual bread dough. This one uses two kinds of dough. One with water and the other one with butter. When you mix the two together, it makes the flaky crust. Just found it on Youtube, but changed some things along the way,” Sweet P divulged about her baking process.
Flake it till you make it
The breadth of flavors is impressive, with each one tasting distinct from one another. Trying some of the best-sellers, I appreciated that the fillings were substantial and made with real ingredients. You can taste the cumin, paprika, and other taco spices in the Cheesy Beef Taco and Chicken Fajita; the beef and chicken were chunky and moist. It’s not the mushy filling kind of empanada.
The tasty and garlicky Longganisa was an easy favorite, and the Spinach with Cheddar and Kesong Puti flavor was a lighter and healthier option that was subtly cheesy – you’ll get real spinach leaves in every bite. The Philly Cheesesteak didn’t shy away from that savory and meaty flavor; the beef used was tender and not at all dry. The Chicken ala King tasted just like a creamy chicken pot pie inside a crust.
Sweet P’s first empanada flavor was actually pork curry, which became an instant favorite and the first on the menu. Initially, she didn’t plan on having 30 flavors, but fans of the pork curry told her to make basic variants like chicken and pork.
“I made our classic pork and old-fashioned chicken. The fourth flavor was chicken curry. Then one time, we had tacos for merienda and there was leftover beef and so the Cheesy Beef Taco was born. After that, someone asked for a healthier version so we created the Spinach Cheddar Kesong Puti, which has been and still is our best-seller,” Sweet P said.
It costs P425 for 6 pieces of a single flavor, P800 for a dozen of 1-2 flavors, and P850 for a dozen of 3 flavors. They may be pricier than your regular empanadas, but they are sized bigger and go through a tedious, homemade process per every order. The crust is somewhat crisp on the outside, but soft to the bite, and the dough-to-filling ratio is generous. A dozen of these weighs almost a kilo, more or less.
“Our buttery, flaky crust is different from other kaliskis empanadas from Malolos, Bulacan. Our patrons say that even if it’s not crunchy anymore, they still eat it, even from the ref. We take pride in our meat being moist, and ‘hindi tinipid.‘”
Sweet P’s empanadas with a twist can be ordered for delivery via Facebook daily or via SMS at 0908 882 3933. They are located in L42 Mt. Rushmore St, LA Montana Estates, Sta. Cruz, Antipolo City. – Rappler.com