|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Empanadas don't have to be savory—dessert empanadas are a lot of fun to make, and everyone loves them. These apple cinnamon empanadas (with a touch of caramel dulce de leche) also make excellent breakfast pastries.
This recipe uses a different empanada dough from savory empanadas—a cream cheese pastry dough, that is only slightly sweet, becomes very flaky and tastes more like a pie crust. Because fruit empanadas are famous for leaking in the oven, it's important you seal the edges of the dough well. They are normally sealed with the tines of a fork, but braided edges hold the filling better. Chilling the formed empanadas overnight before baking will also prevent the filling from escaping.
- For the Pastry:
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (chilled and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces)
- 8 ounces cream cheese (chilled and cut into pieces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Filling:
- 4 to 5 firm green apples (like Granny Smith)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Optional: 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
- For Baking:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup sugar (for sprinkling; as needed)
Make the pastry dough: Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly.
Add the chilled butter and cream cheese pieces to the bowl and pulse several times, just until mixture starts to come together. Add the vanilla and pulse twice more briefly.
Turn dough mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Bring the dough together into a disk, wrap with the plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Make the filling: Peel and core the apples, then cut them into small cubes. Add apples to a saucepan with the butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir apples over medium heat, cooking until they are just tender.
In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon or two of water into the cornstarch until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook, stirring, until mixture starts to thicken.
Remove apples from heat and stir in the dulce de leche, if using, until well mixed.
Chill apple mixture for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Shape empanadas: Roll out dough (in 2 or 3 batches) on floured surface to about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut circles of dough about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.
Wet the edge of a dough circle slightly, all around the perimeter. Place 1 scant tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough. Fold the circle in half, enclosing the filling, and pinch the edges together firmly to seal, flattening and extending them slightly as you pinch them. Fold and crimp the flattened edge over itself decoratively. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
Chill empanadas for about 1 hour for best results (or 15 minutes in the freezer). Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix egg yolk with a little bit of water and brush over empanadas. Sprinkle empanadas with sugar.
Bake empanadas until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. These are best eaten warm and can be reheated in a low oven.