Daring Bakers September Challenge - Empanada (with baked apples)

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

I can't believe it's already october - and that I'm posting a challenge so late ... But after my two-week 'summer' vacation in september (and all the preparing that comes with a hikig trip), days with lots of work and another lucky condition I'm it I just feel tired. My energy level has been very low during the last months and it costs me a lot of effort to stand in my kitchen for a longer time and prepare food. 
Normally I cook dinner at home, but lately I eat at work because of my overwhelming hunger attacks at noon. Also I have to stick to a bunch of food restrictions (nothing smoked or raw, soft cheese, alcohol) so I feel a little bit limited in my cooking too. I guess some of you know what I'm talking about right now. 
So I feel pity I'll maybe miss my favourite season of the year. The story of Patri about her grandmother's kitchen in Portugal inspired me (I could literally smell the flavours coming from that kitchen), and I rembered my favourite smell of fall - warm/baked apples. Usually I would make a cake with apples in fall but as we were allowed to use a sweet filling for our empanada too, I chose to make a baked apple filling. Baked apples are something mostly eaten around christmas time, but I have a really bad craving for them right now (made even some for a BBQ yesterday). The filling is my own creation I usually use for the baked apples, but which also makes a nice layer of an empanada.

Baked Apple Empanada
(makes a 40cmx30cm square empanada or about a 35cm diameter round empanada)

  • 5-1/3 cups (1280 ml) 750 gm) bread flour
  • 2 cups (480 ml) of lukewarm water about 85°F/30ºC)
  • 1 satchel (1 tablespoon or 15 gm) dry yeast or 30 gm fresh yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/11 gm) salt
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) oil
  • 1 large egg, for egg wash
I halved the recipe because I made a small one, if you want to make a large one, you have to double the filling given below.
 Shift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers. In a small bowl, mix the water and the salt. Now, using your fingers or a wooden spoon, start adding the water and mixing it with the flour-yeast mixture. Keep on working with your fingers or spoon until you have added enough water and all the flour has been incorporated and you have a messy ball of dough. On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes.You could do all the above using a stand mixer, in that case mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until mixed and then switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 6 minutes. Clean and oil the big bowl you used for mixing and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover it with a napkin or piece of linen and keep it in a warm, draught-free place for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.
Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying. Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round. Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.

  • 3 medium-sized apples, peeled, core removed and thinnly sliced
  • a handful of raisins (optional; taste even better when soaked in calvados before)
 Almond paste & nut mixture
For the almond paste & nut mixture, blend all ingredients in your kitchen machine. The result should have the appearance of course sand and be sticky when pressed together (otherwise add a little bit more almond paste).


If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray. Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough. Place the filling, starting with the almond paste & nut mixture, than adding the apples and raisins (two times). Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F/180ºC/gas mark 4. 

 Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling. If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. As a picture is worth a thousand words, please watch this video to see how it is done. When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.

You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada, using rounds, bows, lines… let your imagination flow and make it pretty! Using a fork, prick the top layer or, using scissors, make snips that go all the way through the layers. In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.
Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.

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