We always have apples at our house given that my daughter is obsessed with apple slices and organic peanut butter. Some weeks she’s a little more jazzed about apples then others, so sometimes i’m left with a few that will just end up getting thrown out unless I can find something to do with them. This week, this recipe is that something! I used to love Pillsbury turnovers, especially the apple kind, and ever since we’ve cut down on gluten and store bought snacks with unpronounceable ingredients I haven’t had one. Now that I think about it, it’s probably been about 6 or 7 years since the last one I had one, but enough with my reminiscing and onto this recipe. If you’ve never had an empanada before, you definitely need to try one! Traditionally they are more of a savoury treat, with meats, veggies and cheese baked inside but they’re definitely delicious as a dessert as well. Think of them like a tiny pie, or a dessert pierogie if you’d like. The dough is not quite like pie dough, all buttery and flaky, but it really lends well to the sweet delicious-ness of the fresh apple filling. Bonus points that it makes your house smell like apple heaven both when you prepare the filling, and when you bake them!
Gluten-free Apple Cinnamon Empanadas
Makes about 20 Empanadas
– 2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I recommend the “baking” kind for dessert empanadas)
– 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
– 1 stick of cold butter (1/2 cup)
– 3/4 cup cold water
1) Cut the cold butter into cubes and combine in a food processor (a blender works as well!) with the flour, xanthan gum and water until it spins together as a ball of dough.
2) Remove immediately, cover in plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.
Apple Cinnamon Filling
– 3-4 firm apples (I used organic Honeycrisp, but green apples are nice too)
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– pinch of salt
– 2 tablespoons corn starch (remember to check that it’s gluten-free)
– 2-3 tablespoons water
1) Peel the apples and cut them into small cubes. Add them to a saucepan and cook over medium heat with the butter, sugars, cinnamon, vanilla extract and small pinch of salt until almost soft.
2) Mix the two tablespoons of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small cup and pour over the apple mixture. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and the apples are just soft.
3) Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly while waiting for the dough to chill.
1) Have two 9×13 baking trays lightly greased or lined with silcon mats ready for your prepared empanadas.
2) When the dough has chilled, bring it out of the refrigerator and set on a clean countertop dusted with a small amount of gluten-free flour.
3) Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness with a rolling pin, and punch out circles using a large circular cookie cutter, or by tracing circles with a knife around a 1 cup measuring cup.
4) Get a small glass of water ready for preparing the dough.Take the dough circles, one at a time, and drape them lightly into the palm of your hand. Wet the outer edges of the
circle slightly, and place about 1 tablespoon of apple filling inside. Fold one edge of the circle onto the other (making a half moon-esque) shape. Press down lightly, pinching the edges to ensure that the filling stays in when you bake them. Set onto your prepared baking tray (1-2 inches apart) and continue making empanadas until all of your dough is used.
5) When you have a full tray of empanadas ready, place it into the refrigerator for about an hour before baking.
6) About 10 minutes before the hour is up, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
7) When the empanadas have fully cooled, whisk one egg in a small bowl and brush over each one before baking (if you want to dust them with cinnamon sugar, combine 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of the egg wash before baking). Place the tray into your preheated oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes (note- if your dough is thinner/thicker you may need to adjust your baking time- keep an eye on them after about the ten minute mark).
8) Allow the empanadas to cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet and then move to a cooling rack. They can be enjoyed warm, and can be reheated for a few seconds in the microwave to enjoy later once they have cooled completely.
Happy eating! Xo