10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston: #2 Pumpkin Empanada at Rustika Cafe and Bakery

In 2010, I had a grand ol' time scouring Houston for outstanding pumpkin dishes. One year later I'm older, definitely not wiser, and still in love with orange squash. So from now until Thanksgiving I'll be counting down (again) 10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston. Forks at the ready!

#2 Pumpkin Empanada at Rustika Cafe and Bakery

This empanada may hold the #2 spot on this countdown, but Rustika Cafe and Bakery is second to none in Houston with regards to its selection of Mexican-Jewish sweets and dainties.

Combining flaky crust with sweet-salty autumnal filling, the pumpkin empanada is fusion pastry par excellence. I am tempted to liken its taste to fried pumpkin pie; however, there's something bolder, spicier, and richer about this squash treat.

If you make it to Rustika in the morning, you might look forward to a hot empanada. If not, take it home and pop it in the oven on a baking sheet for about five minutes. The generous dusting of cinnamon will mingle with the exterior sheen of oil to create an alluring aroma, which, if bottled, might be called State Fair Thanksgiving.

A single empanada costs $3.24, but who can eat just one? Better stock up on at least three to fend off grabby roommates, children and spouses.

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Joanna O'Leary