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Apple Empanadas with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Apple Empanadas with Bourbon Whipped Cream

My mother and I love making these empanadas together! We make a lot of different kinds of empanadas, but this sweet dessert is the perfect way to celebrate the apple season. The pastry is crunchy and flaky, the cinnamon sugar adds wonderful texture, and the frying process makes them absolutely irresistible. People think they are a fancy food, but they are easy to make ahead, freeze, and then fry the day of a party. I like to serve them with small jars full of the bourbon whipped cream for dipping.

Special Equipment: Electric mixer, spider/mesh skimmer, deep cast iron skillet, frying thermometer


Apple Empanadas with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Recipe makes 8 servings or 16 empanadas. Total time 2 hours and 10 minutes (chilling time included). Active time 70 minutes.



  • 3½ all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 4 apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Frying and Sugaring:

  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon


  1. Measure flour and salt into a large bowl. Add shortening, using your hands to press the flour into the shortening. Slowly add water, working the dough until you can squeeze it into a ball. Place dough on floured surface and split into two equal balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour, or as long as overnight.

  2. Peel and chop apples into ¼ inch pieces. Combine apples, sugar, and nutmeg in saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir and cook until apples are soft but not mushy. Turn off heat and let cool in saucepan.

  3. Mix cinnamon with sugar. Set aside.

  4. Fill a small bowl part way with cold water and place at the edge of your workspace. You will use this water to seal the empanadas. Roll out first ball of dough to ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 3 ½ inch rounds, then use rolling pin to roll each circle to make the dough slightly thinner. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the filling, placing one heaping tablespoon of filling onto each circle. Place the filling to one side of the circle, but away from the edge. Dip finger in water and wet the edge of the dough circle. Fold the circle in half over the filling, using a fork to crimp the edge, sealing filling inside.

  5. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.

  6. Pour oil to depth of one inch in cast iron skillet with high sides. Heat oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. 

  7. Carefully lower hand pies, one by one, into the oil. Make sure the pies do not touch each other. Keep pies in the oil, turning each one  over once during the frying process, about halfway through. They will sink at first, and float up as they are ready. The pies should fry for 3-4 minutes total, pastry should be golden brown on both sides. Use spider to pull pies out of oil and onto paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar on both sides.

  8. Add cream to medium bowl and whip with electric mixer for five minutes. Add sugar and bourbon and whip until cream holds a peak.

  9. Serve pies warm with a generous helping of cream.

Recipe first featured on Ranch To Table Season 2 Episode 5: Apple Season on the Magnolia Network.

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Photos by Brian Skope


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