Sunday, January 17, 2016

Apple Dulce De Leche Empanadas

While little hand held pies are delicious, actually eating them by hand is quite messy. The filling usually runs out. Then you are left with the flaky crust, crumbling with each bite. I still like them, but it is best to use a plate and a fork. If you really want something to eat and hold in your hand, the solution to that is to make empanadas.

These particular empanadas have a bread-like exterior.  In addition, the filling has chunks of applies and thick dulce de leche. As you can see in the picture above, the interior has little liquid in it.  Based on this, you can eat these by hand on the run.

Should you want an additional texture, use a plate an add some ice cold vanilla ice cream to one of these warm empanadas. It makes for a more complete dessert and nicer presentation. Also, the "a la mode" option is hard to resist.

Apple Dulce de Leche Empanadas
adapted from Central Market

6 beaten egg yolks
1 beaten egg white
2 cups water
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup and 2 tbs lard
3 tbs sugar

5 medium tart apples (cored/peeled and diced)
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs butter
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of dulce de leche
1 egg white (beaten) with 1 tsp of water
Vanilla ice cream (optional as topping)

For the dough, whisk together the egg white, yolks and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Then, sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the lard in small chunks to the sifted ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, blend the two together. The mixture should now be like sand and should clump together when mashed in your hand. Form a well in the center and pour in the egg/sugar blend. Mix together using a large fork.

The mixture will be a bit dry, so combine the water and salt in a separate bowl. Add the water in small increments to the batter and combine to help get the mixture to a doughy consistency. Be careful, all you want is just enough to hold the dough together without any dry streaks or remaining loose flour. Pour out or discard the excess water/salt liquid.

Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the dough into 1/8 " thickness. Place a sheet of parchment paper down on the bottom interior of 2 baking sheets. Cut out 6 inch rounds from the dough and place on cookie sheet.You will have between 12-18 discs. Cover and put in refrigerator.

In a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  Stir in the diced apples until all pieces are damp from the lemon/cinnamon blend. Place a saucepan over medium high heat and add the apple mixture. Stir and let cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the apples become soft. Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, blend the remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon with the brown sugar. Then take out one pan of the discs from the refrigerator and stack the discs together on the floured surface. Stretch or roll out one disc (if needed) on the flat surface then place on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Place a heaping tablespoon on the one half of the disk, spreading evenly and leaving a border. Top with a dollup of dulce de leche (about 1 tbs). Flatten the dollup of dulce de leche out over the apples with the back of a dampened spoon. Brush the face up border section of the dough with the egg white and fold the plain half of the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Using the tines of a fork, make ridges along the sealed edge of the dough. Sprinkle the surface of the empanadas with the sugar/cinnamon blend.

Repeat the assembly and sprinkling the top until both pans are filled with empanadas spaced about 1 inch apart. You may have more discs, so keep them the refrigerator until ready to fill and bake. Bake empanadas for about 20 minutes or until edges turn a golden brown, rotating pans at the halfway point.
Tips and Notes:

1.These are best served warm from the oven when the Dulce de Leche is melty. Once the empanadas get cold the dulce turns back to its original thickness.

2. I have seen various dough recipes for empanadas. Some are made with masa flour and some are fried. With each difference comes a a difference in flavor, texture and calories.

3. I would have liked these to get more golden brown on top, but tried even an egg wash which did not help.  The only part that turned brown was the edges.
                                        **LAST YEAR: Lime in the Coconut Cake**