Thursday, November 7, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

The sixth-grade team, of which I am now a part, has developed a little bit of a "let's order/make awesome lunches once a week" custom going on now. This week, the two gentlemen on our grade level team decided to make lunch for the ladies, and they settled on Mexican as the theme.

To go along with the chips and salsa and quesadillas, I decided to whip up a Mexican dessert to share. As it's also apple season, I decided on these delicious apple cinnamon empanadas from Diana's Desserts.

Okay, so empanadas aren't much more than single-serving hand pies or turnovers. Main course empanadas (meaning those filled with meat and/or cheese) are often fried, but can be baked as well, just like these dessert empanadas.

Here's how I made them!

First I combined a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a half teaspoon of nutmeg in a saucepan. Then I sliced up three apples (I used Macintosh) into very thin pieces. I cooked the apples and sugar/spice mixture on medium heat until a syrup formed and the apples were tender but not mushy. This is the filling. I refrigerated it for an hour or so to cool it down.

In a large mixing bowl, I combined two cups of flour, a half teaspoon of salt, and 2/3 cup shortening. I worked it together until crumbly, then cut in 6 tablespoons of cold water until a soft dough formed.

I rolled the dough until it was about the thinness of pie crust, maybe a little thicker. Using a cereal bowl with about a 5-inch diameter, I cut out circles. I gathered the scraps, rolled again, and cut circles again. All told, I had 8 circles when I was done. If you use a smaller template, you can get more circles.

I whisked together one egg and a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.

Then I placed a spoonful of the apple filling on each circle and painted the edges of the dough with egg wash. Folding over the dough got messy because the apple slices kept sliding out, and the syrup leaked all over the place. But I used a fork to crimp the edges, and luckily everything stayed together.

I arranged the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brushed the tops with egg wash.

After about 15-17 minutes in a 350 degree oven, they were ready! The hubs ran quality control, and since he approved, I took the rest to work for our Mexican lunch.

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