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Meet Book Publishing Guest Speaker: Stephanie Laterza

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

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:

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.

Allow the empanadas to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle, or sift, the powdered sugar over the empanadas before serving, if desired. Enjoy!

Stephanie’s Empanada Dough*

(from La Masa A Casa (The Dough at Home-An Italian-Latina Cookbook, Amazon, 2020)


1 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

1½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. sugar

½ cup cold water


In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 1½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. sugar. Add the vegetable shortening and crumble throughout with your fingers until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour over the cold water. One at time, sprinkle over the remaining 2 Tbsp. of flour, form mixture into a ball, and knead about 1 minute. Plastic wrap the dough ball and chill till ready to use, 1 hour or overnight. Each ball yields 6, approximately 5-inch, empanada rounds.

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