Are authentic empanadas always made with yeast-risen dough? That's a tough question, wyogal says, since empanada styles vary from Spain to Portugal to Latin America. JungMann loves the flaky, unyeasted turnovers made in Spain, the Philippines, and Argentina, where the pastry is like barely flaky pie crust. "I prefer them greatly over the thin, pliant crust one might find in other South American varieties like Chilean empanadas de pino," JungMann says. But paulj loves one particular Spanish recipe for dough that includes yeast but isn't allowed to rise much, reminiscent of what paulj calls "oily pizza dough." Though it dates to only the 19th century, baking powder is perfectly authentic—it's common in empanadas from Bolivia and Ecuador, paulj says, same as versions without yeast or baking powder.
Photograph of chicken empanadas by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com