These Caramel Apple Empanadas are filled with autumn flavor! 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 fall treat. They are especially perfect paired with cinnamon ice cream, whipped cream, and even more caramel sauce for drizzling.
How to Make Empanadas
Empanadas are baked or fried hand pies with a variety of fillings ranging from savory to sweet. To add an autumn twist, I filled these Caramel Apple Empanadas 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.
Empanada dough should 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. There are so many ways these empanadas can be sealed, crimped, or folded.
After folding the dough over the 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of filling and pinching the edges closed, I pulled and folded the dough inward along the edge to create a rope-like pattern. They can also be sealed simply with the tines of a fork. Whichever technique is used, the important part is to make sure the empanadas are completely closed along the edges to keep that caramel inside.
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. Right before putting in the oven, I brushed an egg wash over each Caramel Apple Empanada and sprinkled the tops with cinnamon sugar (swap this for turbinado sugar to crisp the tops further and add a little texture).
Caramel Apple Empanadas Recipe Tips
- I made a homemade pie dough, but a lot of the preparation time can be cut with refrigerated pie crust or frozen empanada discs.
- The Caramel Apple Empanadas paired 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.
Looking for more ideas on How to Make Empanadas?
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
Adapted from Isabel Eats
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Caramel Apple Empanadas filled with diced apples simmered in a caramel sauce spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla.
- 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
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.
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.