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.
APPLE CHEDDAR EMPANADAS
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
- Prepare dough according to recipe, set aside
- In a large saute or frying pan, melt the butter and add the apples, saute about two minutes as they start to brown
- Add brown sugar, bourbon, and spices. Continue to saute about five more minutes. Apples will start to decompose.
- Sprinkle flour over the apples, continue to heat and mix in about two more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 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.
- Roll out each dough ball into 6 inch circles, add about 1 rounded tablespoon of filling to the center ( do not overfill).
- 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.
- Arrange empanadas on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush the top of each empanada with the egg wash.
- 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.