Nothing says “autumn” like apples and when you’re making things with apples, what’s better than apple pie? Not much. And while I love a slice of warm, caramelized apples in flaky crust, maybe with a dollop of whipped cream on top, pie that way isn’t very portable. Enter the apple empanada (which is pretty much a more exotic way of saying “hand pie”).
Let me tell you straight away, making apple empanadas is going to take more time than baking one big pie. There’s no getting around it. BUT, making empanadas isn’t hard, so just set aside a little time and turn on your favorite Tito Puente album. Wait, what? You don’t have a favorite Tito Puente album? How can that be? You should give Goza mi Timbal a listen. Or cue up a bossa nova station on whatever streaming radio you listen to. It’s just the right tempo music for cooking and getting things done. I digress.
If you’re not interested in taking the time to hand- make the apple empanadas, and I understand, sometimes it’s just not convenient, you can easily find hand-pie making gadgets that will do the work for you. Try this one from Breville that has tons of good reviews at Williams-Sonoma. Regardless, making the filling is absolutely worth the time, it is sooooo delicious.
Caramelized Apple Empanadas
- For the pastry dough:
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus extra for rolling)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice water
For the filling:
- 4 large Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp Apples
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1. Make the dough. Place flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times until small crumbs form. Pour 1/4 cup of the water into the flour mixture and pulse 4-5 times until the mixture starts to clump. Add the remaining water and pulse again until the dough forms one large ball. If this does not happen after 5-6 pulses, add a tablespoon of water and pulse until the dough forms. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- 2. Make the filling. Peel and core the apples, then cut in 1/2 inch pieces. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and once the foaming stops, add the apples and sugar. Stir the apples gently until they release their juice and caramelize. This is going to take somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. Once the apples are done, remove from heat.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured piece of parchment. Flatten the ball and sprinkle with flour and top with another piece of parchment. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. You want to be able to get twelve 3 1/2-inch rounds out of the dough, so roll it about that big.
- 4. Cut rounds out of the dough. If you don’t have a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, look for a drinking cup that big. Cut out as many rounds as you can from the first roll of dough. You can reroll the dough one more time to get a couple more rounds, but rerolling after that will result in tough and flake-less pastry.
- 5. Pick up one round of dough, moisten the edges with a finger dipped in water and place a tablespoon of apple filling in the middle of the round and fold the dough over and pinch the edges together. Place the empanada on a parchment-lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining dough rounds.
- 6. Crimp the edges of each empanada with the tines of a fork, and then prick the tops for steam to escape. Brush the tops with an egg wash made from one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water.
- 7. Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are browned. Serve the empanadas while warm or within a couple hours of baking.
Adapted from Fiesta at Rick’s “Flaky Turnovers with various fillings”
Look at how cute those little pies are. Don’t you just want one? Or five? When fall rolls around, what kind of food do you start craving? Pumpkin or apple? Soups or stews?
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