It wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly came to appreciate turcos, the tiny turnovers my grandma labors over every holiday season stuffed with thrice-cooked pork, raisins, and nuts. As cinnamon and anise waft through that sweltering South Texas kitchen, my mom, her sisters and cousins still try to sneak a fresh turc (as they lovingly call these pockets) straight off the sheet pan. “Only eat the ugly ones!” my grandma always yells. See, she stashes all of her perfectly roped empanadas for the big parties, a far cry from how they were originally eaten.

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