Hotteok (ho-deok) is my #2 favorite Korean street food. It is essentially a yeast bun fried with brown sugar, cinnamon & nuts inside. Or another way to put it, it’s like a pancake with warm syrup on the inside. To make a fusion hotteok, I decided to make it with apple pie filling instead.
Step 1: Prepare the Hotteok dough. Mix the yeast with warm water and sugar. Then add flour & let it rise for an hour. After 1 hour, knead the dough to release any air bubbles that may have formed. Then allow it to rise for a little while longer. Once it is ready, knead the dough on a floured surface & divide it into 8 balls.
Step 2: Make the apple pie filling. I chose not to bake the apples but cook them on the stove top instead. In traditional hotteok, the brown sugar & cinnamon would go inside the dough uncooked and would melt during the frying process. But since I needed to cook the apples down & soften them a bit, I chose to cook it all together before frying the hotteoks. Because the sugar was cooked down, I couldn’t fill it quite as full as they usually are. Usually the pancakes sold on the street are overflowing with melted sugar after the first bite. But this variation is made with less filling so you can enjoy more of the sweet yeast bun.
Step 3: Assemble the Hotteok. This is the tricky part. The syrup from the melted sugar & spices is going to want to pour out of the edges of your hotteok before you’ve even assembled it. So you have to be careful not to over fill it but also to seal it tightly. I shared a step by step picture of how I assembled mine. I flattened each ball of dough between the palms of my hands, poured a small amount of the apples & nuts on the inside of each then sealed them starting from the outer edges in. Once the edges are sealed, just ball it up and set it aside for frying.
Step 4: Fry them up! Just heat some frying oil & fry each ball for 1-2 minutes on each side. They should be golden brown on both sides. Also, once they are ready to be flipped be sure to press the balls flat using a turner. They should be little discs like in the title picture. Serve while warm. Enjoy!
Apple Pie Hotteok
- 2 Cups + 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 Cup warm water
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
Apple Pie Filling:
- 1/2 Cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 apples
- 2 Tbsp chopped nuts, your choice
Mix the yeast, sugar & warm water in a bowl together. Add 2 Cups flour & mix well using hands. Cover the yeast mixture with saran wrap & a few kitchen towels to keep it warm. Set aside & let the dough rise for 1 hour.
In the meantime, make the apple pie filling. Peel & cut the apples into 1/4 inch cubes. Toss the apples in a bowl with lemon juice. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & 2 Tbsp flour together in a separate bowl. Toss the apples with the brown sugar mixture. Heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Add the apples & cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has melted into a thick syrup. Cover & allow the apples to cook for 10 minutes. They should be soft & cooked down in size. Remove from heat & let the apples sit covered for another 5 minutes.
After 1 hour, knead the dough to remove air bubbles. Cover & allow it to rise for another 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Use more flour if the dough is very sticky. Knead the dough into a flat disk. Divide it into 8 sections. Roll each section into a ball.
To assemble the hottoek, rub some flour between your hands. Then press one ball at a time into a flat disk in the palm of your hands. Pour about 1 Tbsp of the apple mixture & 1 tsp of the chopped nuts onto each disk. Starting with the outer edges first, carefully connect the edges of the disk & pinch them together. Shape the hotteok into a ball & make sure it is tightly sealed.
Heat 1/2 Cup oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot enough for frying, place the hotteok in the oil. Allow it to fry for about 1 minute then turn onto the other side. Using a turner, press the ball into a flat disc. Allow it to fry for about 1-2 minutes longer until both sides are golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.