Strawberry and Chili Cheesecake Empanadas

Buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling! Dessert empanadas are easy to make and so delicious, everyone will love them!

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling
I love going into the town centre around the end of the week because it’s when all the market stalls are there, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables for way cheaper than at the supermarket, and much better quality too. They also have stalls with all kinds of other things, but I don’t usually pay much attention to them. However, last month I was there and a jam and preserves stall caught my eye and I had to go have a little look. All the jams looked so yummy and I was very intrigued by some of the flavours. After a lovely conversation with the lady that runs the stall and sampling lots of delicious jams, I came away with two pots of strawberry and chili jam. Thanks Poppy’s Preserves (I did ask for a website or facebook to link to but she doesn’t have one unfortunately).

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling

The jam is delicious on toast and with cheese, but I was obviously going to do some baking with it! Ever since I made Mexican Nutella and Banana Empanadas I’ve been thinking about what other flavour varities I could make, and I guess that’s how I ended up with these Strawberry and Chili Cheesecake Empanadas – I can’t tell you exactly when the “eureka” moment came, it was just one of those ideas that sneaks up on you  so you feel like you must have had it in there all the time!

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling

Sweet and spicy is such a delicious flavour combination, the sweetness from the strawberry hits you first and then the heat comes – it’s really something special! Combine that with a creamy mascarpone and you really are in heaven! I used the same easy peasy, delicious pie crust recipe that I used in the Nutella and Banana ones – it really is the easiest pastry to make, it’s probably harder to go to the shops and buy the ready made stuff! Plus it’s flaky, buttery and so yummy. So let’s recap – we have a sweet, spicy and creamy filling encased in flaky, buttery pie crust in little two bite empanadas? Even I’m drooling now and I made them!

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling 

Strawberry and Chili Cheesecake Empanadas
Yields 24
Flaky, buttery pastry with a strawberry and chili cheesecake filling
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  1. For the pastry
  2. 310g plain flour (all purpose)
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 tbsp sugar
  5. 230g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  6. 120ml ice water*
For the filling
  1. 250g mascarpone
  2. 170g strawberry and chili jam
  3. 30g sugar
  4. 5 fresh strawberries, very thinly sliced
For brushing
  1. 30g butter
  2. 3 tbsp sugar
  1. To make the crust, put the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor, pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and process until you have fine crumbs.
  2. With the motor running, add 1 tbsp of ice water at a time until the dough starts to come together. It's unlikely you will need all 120ml of the water, just add until the dough is starting to clump.
  3. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball. Cut the ball into two and flatten into two discs. Wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for 1 hour. Remove dough from fridge about 10 minutes before rolling.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C and line baking sheets with parchement paper
  5. To make the filling, add the mascarpone, jam and sugar to a bowl and beat together until smooth.
  6. Roll out the pie dough and cut out 3" circles, place on lined baking sheets.
  7. Place about 1/2 tsp of the filling on one half of the circle and top with a small piece of strawberry, fold over and crimp edges closed with a fork. Make sure it is well sealed so the filling doesn't leak out (which happened with some of mine - still yummy though!). Repeat with all the dough, re rolling as needed.
  8. Melt the butter and brush a little on each empanada, then sprinkle with some sugar.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown
  10. Keep the assembled empanadas in the fridge until ready to bake.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature
  1. *Measure out 120ml water and add a few ice cubes, swirl around and leave to sit for 5 minutes so the water is nice and cold!
  2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days
  3. If you don't have strawberry and chili jam you can make with just strawberry jam, or even add a little chili to it. You could also cook some strawberries with chili to make a thick sauce to stir into the mascarpone.
A Tipsy Giraffe
Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling

I almost had a savoury version of these for you too! I know, savoury on this blog? Who would believe it! I spooned some of the jam onto the dough circle and topped with a piece of goats cheese, a yummy combination for sure! But baking the jam didn’t really work out, as you may imagine it went very tough (lack of foresight on my part), I definitely want to try that combination again though – but mix the jam and goat cheese together before adding to the empanadas! If you feel like something savoury, why not give that idea a go – I’d love to hear how it came out! And instead of sprinkling with sugar, sprinkle with some coarse ground black pepper! Don’t worry, the goat cheese ones didn’t go to waste – while they weren’t blog worthy they were still very yummy and all were eaten! And because I made half of them with this combination, I was left with a fair bit of the “cheesecake” mixture, which I utilised in another recipe that I’ll share with you soon!

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling

But for now we’re sticking with what I do best, and that’s dessert! What do you think of the sweet and spicy combination? Those that haven’t tried it before might find it a bit odd, but trust me, once you take that first bite you’re going to be hooked. In fact, here’s a (paraphrased) snippet of a conversation I had with my mum when I made these:

Mum: What are these then?

Me: Strawberry and Chili!

Mum: eww! Why would you put them together?

Mum: *tries one* These are amazing, can I have another?

My mum is always very dubious of my less than normal flavour combinations (well, not normal to her – she’s not convinced that these kinds of combinations aren’t just my brain child – they’re pretty popular!) but she’s always pleasantly surprised! I guess that’s a good sign though – if I can make her love them then they must be good!

Strawberry Chili Cheesecake Empanadas by Giraffes Can Bake - buttery, flaky pie crust with a sweet and spicy cheesecake filling

Speaking of family, before I end this post I want to share my older sister’s brand new blog with you! If you’re an aspiring seamstress or just enjoy crafts, I would really appreciate you checking her out and sending her some love! She’s not been sewing too long and I’ve been trying to convince her to start blogging about her journey for ages – and she finally took that exciting step! When I told her I’d promote her new blog for her she did ask that I stress that she’s a beginner at both blogging and sewing – I’m not much of a sewer (is that a word, probably not with that spelling!!) myself but I personally think she does a really great job! You can find her blog here – Giraffes Can Sew. Yep, we’re starting a family name here – the next stop is to convince our younger sister to start a beauty blog called Giraffes Are Beautiful πŸ˜‰ Laura’s first project post won’t be up til Friday at the earliest, but give it a follow and don’t forget to send her some love! You can also find her pinterest here

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  1. tentimestea says:

    Oh these look so delicious with the flaky pastry and creamy filling! And those goat cheese ones sound fantastic as well πŸ™‚ Haha, it’s fun to hear that blogging has infected some of your family as well!

  2. Dini @ Giramuk's Kitchen says:

    This combines so many of my favourite things that my head is exploding!! πŸ˜€ The only thing that’s missing is some chocolate (maybe I might make them and have a chocolate dipping sauce πŸ˜‰ )
    I love that strawberry chilli Jam! I once tried a Raspberry Jalapeno Jam which was to die for!! From a similar market too! I love those little markets… πŸ™‚

    • Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake says:

      Chocolate dipping sauce! Why didn’t I think of that?! You are a genius Dini haha!
      Ooh raspberry jalapeno jam sounds awesome, might have to pop back and see if she has any of that – or make some myself. I made mango jalapeno jam (somewhat inspired by your popsicles actually!) this week, very yummy (technically its mango serrano because I couldn’t find jalapenos, but close enough πŸ˜‰

  3. Judi Graber says:

    I like this idea of strawberry and chili together. I make my own strawberry jam every year and sometimes infuse it with lavender but adding a little heat – yum. Delicious dessert – I am on my way to find a recipe for this jam since strawberry season is just about here πŸ™‚

  4. Amanda @ The Chunky Chef says:

    Man oh man… I should make sure I eat before coming to check out your blog… I always end up completely starving from your amazing photos! These look so amazing, that creamy sweet heat sounds like a perfect combination πŸ˜€ I’ve actually been playing around with different empanada recipes, perhaps I need to start with dessert and give these a go πŸ˜‰

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