Apple Cheddar Empanadas

Fall is one of my favorite times of years to cook. I love all the flavors of the season – pumpkin, sage, butter, apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, butternut squash, etc.

A couple of years ago I went apple picking up in Warwick, NY and I definitely overdid it. 25 pounds of apples later, I had to come up with fun and creative ways to use them so they would not spoil. This was also the first time I delved into canning.

Desserts and baking, with the exception of working with chocolate, have never been my forte. The past few years my capabilities have improved, but I cannot help but use cooking style improvisation in my baking, especially combining savory and sweet.

One of the recipes I developed was Apple and Cheddar Empanadas – a sweet and spicy apple pie filling enrobed in a cheddary empanada crust.

This week I revisited the recipe and forgot how much I liked it. I cannot take full credit for the dough part, as I used a recipe from Kraft, but I’m still proud to say it’s all from scratch.

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For the Dough:
Kraft Empanada Dough Recipe (consider substituting lard for shortening)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Egg wash (one egg mixed with 1/4 cup water or milk)

For the Filling:
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ~1″ cubes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup burbon or whiskey
1 teaspoon each – white pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon flour

  1. Prepare dough according to recipe, set aside
  2. In a large saute or frying pan, melt the butter and add the apples, saute about two minutes as they start to brown
  3. Add brown sugar, bourbon, and spices. Continue to saute about five more minutes. Apples will start to decompose.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the apples, continue to heat and mix in about two more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Divide the dough equally into 12 pieces, roll into balls. Roll each ball into the shredded cheddar to coat, and knead the cheddar into each piece.
  7. Roll out each dough ball into 6 inch circles, add about 1 rounded tablespoon of filling to the center ( do not overfill).
  8. Fold each circle in half, seal the edges closed by crimping with a fork. Pierce the top of each empanada to allow filling to vent while baking.
  9. Arrange empanadas on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush the top of each empanada with the egg wash.
  10. Bake empanadas for 18 – 23 minutes or until golden brown in color. Enjoy hot or allow to cool. Empanadas can be stored at room temperature in a sealed bag for up to a week.

3 thoughts on “Apple Cheddar Empanadas

    • You need to choose a semi hard cheese that pairs well with apples. In terms of European cheeses, gruyere or emmentaler would go well. As for Italian cheeses, decent (not great) substitutes would include sharp provolone or fontina. Gruyere would be my first choice if you have access to it.

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