This empanada is filled with shrimp and queso fresco offset by a creamy Mexican tomatillo sauce.
For the Charred Tomatillo Sauce, toss tomatillos, serrano chilies and garlic with oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until tomatillos and chilies begin to char in spots. Cool slightly. Place tomatillos, chilies and garlic in blender container. Add cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the queso fresco; cover. Blend on medium speed until pureed. Add green onions, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of the fresno chilies and salt. Blend until smooth.
Preheat oven to 400°F. For the Empanada Filling, mix 2/3 cup of the Charred Tomatillo Sauce with remaining 1/2 cup queso fresco in large bowl Add shrimp, 1/4 cup of the Marcona almonds, 1 tablespoon of the remaining fresno chilies, cumin and ancho chile pepper; mix until well blended.
To assemble Empanadas, unroll pie crusts on lightly floured surface. Using 4-inch round cutter, cut each into 5 rounds for a total of 20 rounds. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto half of each round. Moisten edge of each with water. Fold in half; press edge with a fork to seal. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Pierce top of each with fork to vent.
Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Mix remaining 1/4 cup Marcona almonds with remaining 1 tablespoon fresno chilies. Sprinkle over empanadas. Serve with Charred Tomatillo Sauce.
• Fresno chilies are similar in size to the jalapeño pepper. When green they have a mild heat level. As they ripen and turn red, they become hotter. If unavailable, substitute jalapeño or serrano chilies.
• Marcona almonds are grown in Spain. They have a rounder shape, a sweeter taste and softer texture than the California variety. They can be found in gourmet markets. If unavailable, substitute the more familiar California almond.