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Meet Book Publishing Guest Speaker: Stephanie Laterza

Updated: Apr 14

Photo Credit: Tara Maziou

Stephanie Laterza is the author of La Masa A Casa (The Dough at Home), an Italian-Latina cookbook about embracing dough in quarantine. Stephanie is also the author of poetry chapbook, The Psyche Trials (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and a SU-CASA 2018 award recipient from the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her work has appeared in L'Éphémère Review, Ovunque Siamo, Newtown Literary, Literary Mama, Akashic Books, Obra/Artifact, Pratik, Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity (Routledge, 2019), Raising Mothers, the Brownstone Poets 2020 Anthology, and elsewhere; Follow Stephanie on Instagram @stef3rd.

A short review of La Masa A Casa (The Dough at Home from founder Sandra Proto on Goodreads:

Sandra Proto’s review of La Masa A Casa: The Dough at Home-An Italian-Latina Cookbook | Goodreads

Check out one of her recipes:

Stephanie’s Baked Apple Empanadas


2 balls of Stephanie’s Empanada Dough* (see below)

1 apple cored, peeled, and thinly sliced

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. ready-made apple pie spice (containing cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. salted butter

1 egg

1 tsp. milk

1 Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Grease the bottom of a heat-safe roasting or baking pan with 1 tsp. salted butter. On a separate plate, slice the remaining 1 Tbsp. of salted butter into 12 thin slices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, use your fingers to gently toss together the apple slices, sugar, flour, and apple pie spice until the apple slices are coated evenly. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tsp. of milk to make an egg wash. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first dough ball to about ¼ inch thickness. (Sometimes, the dough comes out heart-shaped. If it doesn’t, that’s fine!) Using a rim-floured, ~5-inch round item, cut rounds from the dough. Remove excess dough from around the rounds, roll into a ball, then flatten and cut until 6 total rounds are formed. Place 1-3 of the seasoned apple slices into the center of each dough round. Since each thin apple slice will vary slightly in shape/length, adjust the number of seasoned apple slices as needed to fit your dough rounds. Top the seasoned apple slices at the center of each dough round with a thin slice of the salted butter. Brush the inner edge of each dough round with the egg wash.

Press the edges of each dough round together to seal in a crescent moon shape. Press the inner dough area surrounding the filling with your fingers, then use a floured fork to pleat the outer edge of each empanada to completely seal. Make a crisscrossed hole in the center of each empanada, ideally with a kitchen scissor, though a sharp knife would work too.

Repeat process with the second dough ball to form and fill the next 6 empanadas.

Place the empanadas into the greased roasting or baking pan and brush them lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes. Yields 12 baked apple empanadas.