Empanadas are a Latin American pastry that is often filled with savory or sweet ingredients that are turned over within a buttery crust, then fried. Also known as a pasty, an on-the-go pie, empanadas typically entail dough that is cut into a circle, filled, then folded over into a semi-circle. Like the traditional turnover, empanadas can be created with a variety of fillings, such as cream cheese, cherries, and apples, or savory fares such as beef, chicken, pork and a variety of other tasty fillings. Though empanadas are traditionally fried, they can also be baked as a healthier alternative.

Apple empanadas

Apple empanadas, however, are a very popular dessert and are easy to create. The best thing about apple empanadas, besides their taste, is their pocket sizes, making them the equally tasty, but often a less messy alternative than a traditional apple pie. Though technique required to make apple empanadas require a bit of finessing, wrapping the sweet, delicious filling into the dough is quite easy. Here is a simple apple empanada recipe that will surely get your mouth watering and taste buds tingling.

Apple turnovers

What You'll Need

For The Filling

  • 5 honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves

For The Dough

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 tablespoons of turbinado sugar

This recipe yields 16 empanadas!

Apple filling

What To Do

For The Filling

1. Add all of the ingredients for the filling, into a small pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until apples are very tender and have absorbed the sugar and liquid.

2. Transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside.

For The Dough

1. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Then add the butter, eggs and water, pulsing until a clumpy dough forms. if you do not have a food processor, then you may mix the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or with your hands, folding in the eggs, butter and water with a pastry cutter until a firm dough emerges.

2. Spread some additional flour onto a clean work surface. Transfer the dough onto the clean work surface and knead into a ball.

3. Cut the dough into 4 even pieces, then cut those pieces into an additional 4 pieces. You should have a total of 16 pieces of dough. Then roll each piece into a ball with the palm of your hands.

4. On your floured work surface, work each piece into a flat disk, with a rolling pin, about 6 or 7 inches wide.

5. Stack each piece of flattened dough, using parchment paper in between to avoid them sticking together. Then place stack into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

7. Continuing to work on a floured surface, place about 2 1/2 tablespoons of pie filling mixer onto each disk of dough. Next, fold one side over to the other, and pinch the sides closed, until the empanada is completely sealed. You may also seal the edges with the tines of a fork, to create a pattern.

8. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, then place the empanadas onto the sheets.

9. Poke a hole into each empanada to allow steam to escape.

10. Brush each empanada with egg white, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and filling is bubbling.

11. Take out of the oven. Serve and enjoy!

Empanadas with powdered sugar

Dough and Filling Notes

The type of pastry dough that you choose to use is completely up to you. You may purchase store bought dough, as an alternative to homemade dough, to save time. However, keep in mind that if purchasing your dough frozen, allot a few hours for it to thaw, or submerge it in an airtight container, submerged in hot water to speed the thawing process.

Another tip is to allow everything to sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will enable the filling ingredients to marinate and firm, while the dough loses some of its stretchiness to allow better folding of the empanadas. It's also important that you don't overfill the empanadas, as this can lead to the dough breaking and the filling bubbling through the dough, destroying its shape. Instead, spoon the filling into the center of the dough and leave an ample amount of room all the way around, ensuring that the filling does not spill over onto the edge of the empanada dough.

Apple empanadas are a scrumptious dessert that can be enjoyed at just about any time of the year, without the hassle of using a fork. This empanada recipe is the perfect pastry to carry along for summer picnics and potlucks sans the worry. Keep this recipe on hand whenever you're in the mood for a tasty, handheld dessert.

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