Califonia Bountiful

Empanadas de manzana (Apple empanadas)

Chef David Gomez's mother used to make a bread pudding with cinnamon, sugar, cheddar cheese, raisins and apples during the Lenten season. "This is an empanada version I created to honor those memories," he said.

Chef David Gomez
Roots Catering, Hamilton City

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6 cups Granny Smith apples
(peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup piloncillo or packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Your favorite pie crust recipe or refrigerated pie dough


Place apples, piloncillo (unprocessed cane sugar), lemon juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon and cloves in a small saucepot. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and apples produce juice. Adjust to medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and apples are tender. Remove from heat, fold in pecans and raisins, and let cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with sugar; set aside. Beat egg and milk in a small bowl; set aside. Fold cheese into apple mixture; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust and cut into 4-inch rounds. Fill center of rounds with 2 tbsp. apple filling and 1 1/2 tsp. cheese. Moisten edges with egg wash. Fold in half and seal with a fork.

Transfer to a parchment-lined baking pan. Brush tops of empanadas with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Using a sharp knife, make a small slit on top of each empanada. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through. Serve warm.

Makes 12 to 15

Photo: © 2021 Frank Rebelo

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