Empanadas de manzana (apple turnovers)

Empanadas are made by simply folding a dough or bread patty around a filling, they're popular in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. The dough for empanadas is made with flour and shortning/lard but I decided to give them a healthy twist using a yeast dough. This sweet dough can be filled with a filling of your choice but my all time favorite filling is apple.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)

Apple filling
4 large apples such as granny smith (peeled and chopped in small cubes)
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/5 cup water
2 tablespoons butter

1 egg
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Directions for the dough

Heat the milk, water, and butter in a small pan. Allow it to cool down until lukewarm. Sift your flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar. Once the yeast has activated place it in your electric mixer along with the milk mix, oil, 1 egg (lighly beated), and orange blossom water. Beat on low speed until well combined. Add your dry mix in small portions until a dough is formed. The dough must be a little on the sticky side yet it should almost pull away completely from the side of the bowl. If you find the dough is too sticky to work with, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before kneeding by hand. Remove dough from the bowl and kneed for 3 to 5 minutes on an oiled surface. Place dough in a large oiled pan and allow it to rest for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Apple filling directions
While the dough is rising, place your apples in a non stick frying pan along with the butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sugar starts to melt. Add 1/5 cup of water and cook on med/low heat for approximately 30 minutes or until the water has completely evaporated and the apples have caramelized. Cool your mix completely before preparing the empanadas.

How to assemble your empanadas
Roll your dough into a large triangle cut into rounds 4-5 inches in diameter or depending on the desired size of empanada. add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple filling in center of 1 round and fold dough in half to enclose filling and form a semicircle. Press edges together to seal. Beginning at 1 end and working toward the other, stretch sealed edge outward, pinching and rolling edge to form a rope. Transfer to baking sheet and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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