The house that my parents bought in El Paso was a three room house with four fruit trees in the backyard—apple, apricot, peach and membrillo (quince). Mi mama never let anything go to waste; she would preserve and can all the fruit. She sat for hours peeling piles of apples and then she would make warm apple pies and empanadas. Whenever I smell these empanadas baking, I envision mi mama in the kitchen by my side humming and smiling. I have simplified the recipe to avoid cooking the apples first, and they come out just as tasty as mama’s.
- 4 cups granny smith apples, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 batch empanada dough (see below)
- canned evaporated milk or egg white
- cinnnamon-sugar mixture (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except dough together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Divide empanada dough into 24 pieces. On a floured surface, roll out the dough pieces into small round circles.
- Place a small dollop of apple filling on one half of each of the rolled-out circles. Wet the edges of the circles with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough and seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the edges. This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked.
- Brush each empanada with some canned evaporated milk or egg whites, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Puncture the top of each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray; place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 13 to 20 minutes on middle rack in the oven.
- If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last 5 minutes, until golden brown.
For the dough
- Mix the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening. It is best to use your hands.
- Add the eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Continue to work in with your hands until you have a soft dough.
- Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.
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