These delicious Caramel Apple Empanadas are filled with apple and cinnamon flavor that melts in your mouth! Diced Granny Smith apples are simmered in a spiced caramel sauce until softened and folded in a flaky, butter pie crust for a delicious and compact caramel apple hand pie.
It’s a little apple hand pie that is perfect to eat at home, take to a party or even pack in the kid’s lunch boxes.
This Mexican empanada recipe is perfect when paired with cinnamon ice cream, whipped cream, and even more caramel sauce for drizzling.
Just what you need to remind you of the Taco Bell apple empanadas, but even more delicious! This little apple pie is going to rock your world.
What is an Empanada?
An empanada is a baked or fried turnover with a sweet or savory filling. It is very common in Latin American and Filipino cuisine. Many refer to it as a hand pie.
The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which translates as “breaded” or wrapped or coated in bread.
How to Make Empanadas
Baked Empanadas or fried hand pies are filled with a variety of fillings ranging from savory to sweet. To add an autumn dessert twist, this Baked Empanada Recipe is filled with diced apples simmered in a caramel sauce spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla.
You can also swap out the caramel for cajeta (Mexican goat’s milk caramel) or dulce de leche if they are available.
How to make Empanada Dough
The hardest part about making this easy dough recipe is in getting the thickness of the dough right. This empanada dough recipe is meant to be rolled thin, but not so thin that it tears or breaks.
I used a 3 1/2 inch cutter to cut out circles from the sheet, but you can also divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll out each individually without the use of a cutter.
Sealing the Empanada Filling
After folding the dough, add 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of filling. Then pinch the edges closed tightly. I like to pull and fold the dough inward along the edge to create a rope-like pattern.
They can also be sealed simply by using a fork to crimp the dough. Whichever technique is used, the important part is to make sure the dessert empanadas are completely closed along the edges to keep that apple caramel filling inside.
Empanada Recipe Tip: Don’t skip on refrigerating the empanadas for at least 20 minutes before baking. This will help firm up the dough and filling to keep everything inside.
What is egg wash?
Egg wash is just a combination of egg and liquid. I like to use water, but milk is another option that works well. The ratio is one tablespoon of liquid to one egg. Place them both in a glass bowl and beat them together. There you go – you have egg wash.
Egg wash is commonly used in baking to give pastry dough a beautiful golden color. It is also used to bind things together. Egg wash is great for sealing the edges of empanadas or other types of hand pies, ensuring the filling doesn’t spill out during baking or frying.
Right before putting the baked empanadas in the oven, brush an egg wash over each filled empanada and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.
Empanada Dough Tip: To make your empanadas crispy, you can swap granulated sugar for turbinado sugar to crisp the tops of the apple empanadas further and add a little texture.
How to Make Cinnamon Sugar
Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until well blended.
Apple Caramel Hand Pie Recipe Tips
- I made homemade pie dough, but a lot of the preparation time can be cut with refrigerated pie crust or frozen Goya discos. Goya pastry dough makes this recipe so easy!
- This Empanadas Dessert will pair well with some cinnamon gelato I had on hand along with whipped cream, but they would also be delicious with Helado de Horchata (Horchata Ice Cream) or Cinnamon Cream Cheese Ice Cream.
- I drizzled additional caramel sauce over the tops of the empanadas, but you can also serve it on the side as a dipping sauce.
- If you want even more sweetness, add a spoonful of brown sugar or piloncillo to the simmering apples.
If you’re missing Caramel Apple Taco Bell empanadas, you’re going to want to give these caramel apple empanadas a try. These are so similar to the Taco Bell caramel apple empanada – just even more delicious!
Once you make this Taco Bell empanada recipe, your family will want you to make this Mexican Dessert Recipe again and again.
We hope you love these caramel apple empanadas! Let us know what you think in the comments and with a rating. We love to hear from you!
Looking for more empanada recipes?
Try two of our absolute favorite savory empanada recipes…
Love baked apple recipes?
Try these recipes using apples…
- Slow Cooker Applesauce
- Apple Dump Cake with Fresh Apples
- Stewed Apples
- Ina Garten Apple Crisp
- Sliced Baked Apples
- Baked Apple Pork Chops
- Sauteed Apples – How to Make and Use
- Broccoli Apple Salad
- Apple Banana Smoothie
- Green Apple Smoothie
- Rhubarb and Apple Crumble
Caramel Apple Empanadas
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter chilled and cubed
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 4 Granny Smith apples diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup caramel, cajeta, or dulce de leche
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Caramel sauce for drizzling
To make the dough:
- In a food processor fitted with a dough blade or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Pulse in the cubed butter or cut in using a pastry blender or your fingers to create a crumbly texture with no pieces larger than a pea.
- Mix in enough water just to bring together the pieces and create a smooth dough. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling:
- Toss the diced apples with the lemon juice. In a saucepan, stir together the diced apples and caramel over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the apples begin to soften, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once the filling has cooled to room temperature, remove from dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a thin sheet. Use 3 1/2 inch circular cutter to cut out circles of dough.
- Place 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of the apple filling into the center of one of the circles. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Seal completely using the tines of a fork or create a rope appearance by pulling the edge out slightly and folding over, starting from one end and finishing at the opposite side. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
- Place the empanadas two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the chilled empanadas. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven until the empanadas are golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
If you want even more sweetness, add a spoonful of brown sugar or piloncillo to the simmering apples.
Using an egg wash to seal the empanadas is key to keeping the apple empanadas intact while baking. Don’t skip on refrigerating the empanadas for at least 20 minutes before baking. This will help firm up the dough and filling to keep everything inside.
This post was updated on November 8, 2019.
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