Pumpkin Filling

1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

Mix ingredients together and set aside.

Empanada Dough

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4-ounce packages dry yeast (41/2 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 generous pinches cinnamon
3 cups flour, divided in half
generous 3/4 cup vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine water, sugar, salt, yeast, baking powder, and cinnamon. Using an electric mixer, gradually blend in half of the flour. Add shortening and thoroughly mix, then gradually blend in remaining flour.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts, then shape each of those parts into 4 dough balls. Slap the dough balls between the palms of your well-floured hands until somewhat flattened, then roll on a floured surface into circles approximately 4 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin filling in the center of each circle, fold over, and seal edges by pressing lightly with a fork on both sides. Bake on a greased cookie sheet until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes (watch carefully; they can burn quickly). Makes 16 empanadas.