Nothing says “fall” like apples and cinnamon! These baked apple empanadas combine both ingredients in perfect harmony. With a dollop of whipped cream on top, it just might become a new favorite fall dessert!
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Welcome to our Autumn Blog Hop!
To kick off the fall season, my blogging friends and I are sharing some of our favorite recipes with you today! You’ll find everything from savory soups to sweet treats in this collection.
My sweet friend Rachelle from My Hubbard Home has organized a wonderful group of ladies to bring you loads of fall inspiration, including recipes, shopping guides, decor, crafts, and more! If you’re visiting from my dear friend Paula at Virginia Sweet Pea, welcome and thanks for clicking over!
Make sure you see what my friends are sharing at the end of this post, and check back throughout the season to stay up to date.
Easy Baked Apple Empanadas
If you’re new to my blog, you may not know that I’m a Mexican food fanatic! I share a mix of decor and crafts on this site, but authentic Mexican recipes hold a special place in my heart. This recipe for apple empanadas (Mexican pastry turnovers) is no exception.
Unlike my pumpkin empanadas, these empanadas have more of a flaky pie crust and require pre-cooking the filling before baking. You may choose to enjoy them à la mode or with a serving of fresh whipped cream, much like you would an apple pie.
Recipe Notes for Baked Apple Empanadas
The Empanada Dough
Some people prefer their empanadas with a flakier, puff-pastry type dough, while others like a thicker pie-crust texture. The recipe I’m using below is based on an all-butter pie crust recipe. It does tend to crumble, but that flakiness also gives a lighter touch to the empanadas.
Instead of making homemade empanada dough, you can always simplify the recipe by buying frozen puff pastry shells.
The Apple Filling
Some apple empanada recipes call for using Mexican piloncillo (brown sugar) instead of regular brown sugar. As a matter of preference, I like to use light brown sugar, as I think it allows the full sweetness of the apples to shine through.
Speaking of apples, you have plenty of choices to make for this recipe. I love using Granny Smith apples for baking because I like the slight tartness of the flavor and good texture. It doesn’t get overly mushy either unless you cook it longer in the pot.
You’ll also notice I cut my apple cubes quite small (about 1/2 an inch) because I don’t find large cubes as appetizing in a small pastry pocket. I think you get more filling this way, too!
Tip: Dice apples into smaller pieces for a smoother empanada filling.
With the juicy, spice-infused apple filling, you’re not limited to making just empanadas! For a fun party appetizer, you can always buy mini filo dough shells, fill them with the apple mixture, and top them with whipped cream. You can also create a whole apple pie with the same ingredients.
Sealing and Preparing Empanadas for Baking
The art of the empanada lies in how you shape it and seal it. There are various options for “sealing the deal,” from crimping with a fork to fancy folding with scalloped edges.
First, I roll out the empanada dough to form a disc about 1/8-inch thick. Then, I fold the top of my disc over just short of the bottom edge. Finally, I roll up the bottom edge to cover the top edge and crimp along the edges, much like you would with a pie.
Tip: To avoid burning the edges, don’t crimp them too thin.
The final step before baking empanadas is brushing on a egg wash and sprinkling the tops with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
I use egg whites for my egg wash because this provides nice subtle browning without making the empanadas too shiny.
One variation I’m planning to try is sprinkling sea salt and cinnamon on top. I think the combination of apples and sea salt might delight the senses! Let me know if you try it!
The best part about this recipe is you can make the dough ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator for up to two days. The apple filling will last 5-7 days refrigerated in an airtight container.
Once you have prepared your apple turnovers, you can always freeze the unbaked turnovers in parchment paper to cook at a later date. They should last up to 3 months or so, and you can bake them directly without thawing. I prefer freezing them before baking (as opposed to after baking) for the freshest, flakiest crust.
Freezing especially comes in handy when planning an event or holiday dinner. (Who doesn’t love single-serve desserts at a party?!)
One of my pet peeves is a cold apple empanada! I highly suggest eating them slightly warmed. If you can grab one about 5 minutes after it leaves the oven, even better!
Top it with homemade whipped cream and a few sprinkles of ground cinnamon, and you’ll be in heaven!
Pin it for later!
Baked Apple Empanada Recipe
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples (peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes)
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (divided)
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
- 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter (about 2 1/2 sticks, cold and cubed)
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water (as needed)
- 1 egg white
- In a medium-sized pot, combine the diced apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/4 of the cinnamon with a dash of ground cloves.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apples are soft and the mixture becomes juicy and well blended (about 15-20 minutes).
- Let the apple filling cool completely, or refrigerate for up to 5-7 days.
- In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pulse slightly to mix. If you don’t own a food processor, you can simply stir the mixture and then use a pastry cutter to combine ingredients later.
- Add cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture begins to clump into bean-size pieces.
- Add water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse gently until the dough sticks together but is not overly moist.
- Knead the dough to form a disc and press flat. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the dough on a floured surface, and begin forming small balls to your desired size. Then roll the balls into circles about 1/8-inch thick, and place them on plastic wrap or parchment paper. Lightly flour the dough as you work to prevent sticking and tearing.
- Fill the dough with about 2 tablespoons of apple filling, leaving enough gap to the edge to fold the pocket in half.
- Seal the edges of the empanada together forming a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges slightly with your fingers, or use a fork to seal to imprint a design. Just be sure not to press the edges too thin or they will get overcooked in the oven.
- Place the empanadas on a baking sheet, either greased or lined with parchment paper. Cut a few small slits in the top of the empanadas to release steam while baking.
- Baste the tops of the empanadas with egg white.
- Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Continue Your Tour!
I hope you enjoyed putting another recipe in your stash this season! Don’t forget my friends have plenty of good treats for you below. Next on your stop is my friend Carol from Bluesky at Home (bolded below)!