Who doesn’t love empanadas? They are the perfect size hand-held treat, and can be sweet or savory depending on what mood you’re in. Savory empanadas can be filled with meat, seafood, cheese or vegetables, and can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal. Sweet empanadas are typically enjoyed as a snack or dessert, and can be filled with a wide variety of fruits, chocolate, caramel, coconut, nuts or a combination of these ingredients.
Originally from Spain, they’re now made in all Hispanic countries: Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Chile just to name a few, and they each possess their own special characteristics which make them unique from place to place.
Because you can fill an empanada with just about anything, why not take a walk down memory lane and combine my two loves of apple pie and empanadas?
To prepare the dough for the empanadas, check out all of the steps and pictures in my Beef Picadillo Empanada Blog. In that blog, I went the savory route and filled the empanadas with ground beef, spices, olives, capers and raisins, and you’ll definitely want to make them for a delicious, savory Latin-inspired treat. The only difference with the dough for the apple pie empanadas is that I added 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the recipe.
Roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface to around an 1/8” thickness, and use a biscuit cutter to cut out 4- to 5-inch circles (you should end up with about 12 circles).
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the apple filling in the center of each circle of dough, brush the edges with egg wash, and fold the dough into a half-moon over the filling.
Using your hands or a fork, make a decorative edge, which helps to seal the package.
Because the filling is raw, the best cooking method is to bake the empanadas so the filling has time to cook and the cornstarch can thicken the apple juices. Frying is delicious, but the outside browns too quickly before the inside is cooked through. If you would like to fry your empanadas, you’ll want to first cook down the apples in a sauté pan until they are soft and tender and the juices have thickened, then cool completely before using.
I love dipping my empanadas into yummy sauces, and we all know apples and caramel are a match made in heaven. With that in mind, I picked up a can of dulce de leche from the store, warmed it gently and drizzled it over the empanadas.
What is dulce de leche you ask? It’s a Latin America confection made by caramelizing sugar and milk. It’s thick right out of the can, and can be used as a spread or warmed up for a drizzly consistency. It’s excellent on ice cream or pancakes, too! And, it’s a great shortcut if you don’t have time to make your own caramel sauce.
Apple Pie Empanadas
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 1 dozen empanadas
Active time: 1 hour
Start to finish: 1 hour, 25 minutes
For the dough:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
For the filling:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into medium dice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
Dulce de leche, warmed
1. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process until well combined.
2. Add the cold butter, and pulse until you have a crumbly texture. Add the egg, cold water and vinegar, and process until the dough just comes together.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface, and gently knead 2 to 3 times just to bring the dough together.
4. Flatten the dough into a 1/2-inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 375°, and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
6. To prepare the filling mix together the apples, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt.
7. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the empanada dough until it is 1/8-inch thick. Using a 4- to 5-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into approximately 12 circles.
8. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each circle. Lightly brush the edges of the circle with egg wash.
9. Fold the dough over the filling, and pinch the edges together. While holding the empanada in one hand, use your other hand to pinch and fold the edge of the dough to create a rope-like effect. You can also use the tines of a fork to seal the edges.
10. Place the empanadas on the prepared sheet tray, and lightly brush the tops with egg wash. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a small steam vent in the top of each empanada.
11. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving with a drizzle of dulce de leche.
Sweet or savory, empanadas are a fun culinary treat to make and eat! We’ll be making tropical fruit empanadas in our Five-day Teen Camp: Global Cuisine starting on July 5th, but sign up your teen now because there are only four spots left in this popular camp.
Empanadas are the challenge for this week's private Facebook group members. Make a batch of sweet or savory empanadas and show them off to other home cooks! Our group is a supportive community where you can get all of your cooking questions answered.