Apple Gujiyas/Hand Pies/Empanadas are sweet, deep fried Indian dumplings/hand pies with a delightful apple and coconut filling in a whole wheat crust; perfect to enjoy during Holi, Diwali or any special occasion!
Step 1: Ingredients Needed:
FOR THE OUTER COVERING OF GUJIYA:
1 cup whole wheat flour ( or you can use only all-purpose flour)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fine semolina
3 tablespoons melted ghee/clarified butter/oil
Pinch of salt
Water for kneading the dough
FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
2 cups grated apple (3 to 4 large apples, peeled, cored and grated)
½ lemon/lime juice (optional; just to avoid browning of apples)
½ cup to ¾ cup desiccated dry coconut (add according to your preference)
2 tbsp raisins
15 almonds , chopped
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
5-6 tbsp powdered jaggery or jaggery syrup (or according to taste)
Step 2: TO MAKE THE OUTER COVERING OF GUJIYA:
In a large mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, semolina/suji, melted ghee and a pinch of salt.
Rub with your fingers until all the ghee is incorporated into the whole mixture.
It should look like breadcrumbs.
The test to see if the dough has enough ghee to make crispy gujiyas is to take a handful of dough and press. If it holds its shape, the amount of ghee is just right. If not, add more ghee.
Add water; about ¼ cup to begin with and make a soft dough by just gathering the dough until it starts to come together.
If needed, add more water to form a slightly firm dough.
TRY NOT TO KNEAD TOO MUCH.
Cover with a moist cloth or keep in an airtight container; set aside for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling.
Step 5: TO MAKE THE APPLE FILLING:
Wash, peel, core and grate apples (using the larger hole in a box grater).
To avoid apples from browning, mix in lemon juice into the grated apple thoroughly. You can omit this if you are making it immediately. Adding lemon juice will give it a slight tang which some might not like.
If you love the sourness, do add the lemon or even lime juice.
Heat ghee in a saucepan and once hot, add the chopped almonds and raisins and fry on medium heat until slightly roasted. Remove them and keep aside.
Add grated apples to the same pan and saute on medium high heat stirring often for 5 to 6 minutes until most of the moisture is gone.
Add jaggery powder/syrup and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of more minutes.
Stir in the grated coconut and continue to fry on medium heat until almost dry and the apples are well cooked.
Sprinkle in the fried raisins and nuts, cardamom and cinnamon powders; mix to combine.
Stir for a couple of more minutes and remove from heat.
Cool to room temperature. At this stage, you can either store in an airtight container in the fridge and use it when you are ready to make hand pies or use immediately.
Step 10: TO ASSEMBLE THE GUJIYAS:
Make about 10-11 small balls of the dough. Keep them moist by covering with a cloth.
Using a rolling pin, roll each ball to form a small circle about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. If the dough is done right, you will need no additional flour to roll the dough.
If needed, use as little as possible.
Apply some water lightly (not too much) at the outer edges of the rolled dough
Place a teaspoon or two of the apple filling in the center. Do not add too much stuffing.
Flip one side over the filling and bring the two sides together, gently pressing the edges all around. Make sure the edges are well sealed or else the filling will spill out while frying!
Either press with fork all around the edges to seal well, use a gujiya maker (readily available in any store or online) or make rolled design on the edges like I have.
Prepare all the gujiyas the same way.
Step 13: FRYING THE HAND PIES:
Heat oil or ghee until hot; to check drop a small piece of dough and if it rises immediately but slowly, then your oil is ready. If it rises quickly, the oil is too hot, reduce the temperature.
Drop the prepared gujiyas/hand pies a couple or 3 at a time (do not over crowd the pan) and fry on medium low heat, turning often until crispy and golden brown all over! It took me about 8 to 10 minutes for each batch.
Once fried, serve hot or at room temperature.
Store leftovers in airtight containers.
Step 15: NOTES:
You can roll the dough thin for crispier gujiyas.
Either just press the edges and use a fork to seal the edges or make a designed edge by pressing the edges and making swirls like I have.
Keep the unfried gujiyas covered all the time to avoid drying.
If you have leftover filling, use them to make parathas, sweet sandwiches etc.
Ensure the filling is dry before using. Adjust the amount of cinnamon and cardamom according to preference.
Frying on medium low heat is important as if the temperature is high, then the outside of the gujiya will be crispy, but the inside will be soft and uncooked.
Use any kind of nuts in the filling.
You can make these with other fillings too like coconut, chocolate, savory fillings etc.
For a more tender and crispy crust, use only all-purpose flour to make the dough. I prefer to use less flour in my daily diet, hence the whole wheat flour hand pies.