October 23, 2013

Apple Hand Pies

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

I had promised him a pie that perfect day in the apple orchard. We collected a small basket’s worth of apples – a few varieties for snacking, but mostly for baking. The Honey had to cut me off; we already had two crisper bins full of colorful apples waiting for us at home. My eyes, as always, were too big.

Apple pie was one of the very first desserts that I learned to bake as a teenager, carefully following the classic recipe – the page always marked with that red ribbon – from our smudged and fading copy of the original Joy of Cooking. Over time I could recite the ingredients from memory, and learned to adapt, adding a little more or less of this and that as needed for each pie. The flavors ingrained.

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife SwoonApple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon
Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

When we got back from Asheville, it was clear that Fall had settled in for good. Cashmere socks and piping hot tea seem continuously in order. Dreary days are brightened by the intoxicating aroma of fall baking and slow-braised soups and stews. I’ve been adding apples to everything lately – baked into desserts, swirled into ice cream, tossed with cinnamon atop steamy oatmeal in the morning, roasted with butternut squash to create a savory soup… – the list goes on.

Instead of a traditional pie, I decided to make miniature hand pies; all the classic apple pie flavors – sweet apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves – in convenient hand-held form. I find individual desserts like these so much easier for just the two of us. I can split the recipe in half, for a special occasion, or we can freeze a few for later. It’s less commitment than a whole pie, but certainly no less indulgent.

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon
Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

The pie pastry that I used in this recipe is the Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough from Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful baking book – Baking: From my home to yours. It’s a great, all-around, flexible and easy to work with dough, and is lovely in this recipe (as well as any number of other pies and tarts). If you already have your own go-to pie dough, feel free to use that here, but if not, I highly recommend Ms. Greenspan’s recipe.

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon
Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

5.0 from 3 reviews
Apple Hand Pies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe by:
Yield: 12 Hand Pies
Ingredients
Pie Pastry (from Dorie Greenspan)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2-1/2 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
  • 1/3 cup all-vegetable shortening, very cold or frozen, cut into small pieces
  • 6-7 tbsp ice water
Apple Filling
  • 5 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
To Top
  • 1/3-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • demerara or sanding sugar
Instructions
Make the pie pastry
  1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt until well-combined. Add the butter and shortening to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter and shortening pieces are evenly dispersed, with the largest pieces about the size of peas. Be careful not to over-mix. Add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time, and pulse to combine, until the dough is evenly moistened. Pinch a bit of dough together between two fingers to test - the dough should stick together. If the dough seems dry, add a few more teaspoons of water and pulse again.
  2. Transfer the pastry to a clean, well-floured work surface, and divide the dough in half. Gather each half of dough into a ball, then flatten into a round, disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before you begin to roll out the dough.
Make the filling
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-heat. Add the diced apples, butter, brown sugar and spices to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the butter is melted and the apples are just soft, but not mushy, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer the apple filling to a mixing bowl to cool. Set aside and let come to room temperature.
To bake the pies
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out on to a generously-floured piece of parchment paper, until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 5-inch-diameter cookie cutter or saucer (my preferred method), cut out six circles. Re-roll the dough as necessary to achieve all six.
  3. Lay the pastry circles on one of the sheet pans and top with half of the apple mixture, being sure to reserve as much of the apple liquid as possible. Adding too much liquid to the pies will get messy, quickly. Fold the dough in half, and use your fingers to gently press the edges together. Using the back of a fork, gently press down to create a fluted seal along the edge.
  4. Lightly brush the top of each pastry with the cream, and sprinkle generously with the demerara sugar. Cut a small x-shaped slit in the top of each pie, and repeat these steps with the second dough disk, if using.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and cooked through. Let cool for 10 minutes on a baking rack. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Β 

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon
Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

Apple Hand Pies | Fork Knife Swoon

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    eve
    November 23, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you for saving my thanksgiving. I made this pie with apples we dried at the end of summer. I couldnt believe I made this from scratch. My mother in law can’t wait to test these pies. The crust was soon good. Thanks again for sharing

  • Reply
    Rebekah
    October 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Made these today and they are out of this world! The dough is light, flaky and flavorful. Apples were perfect.
    made the mistake of building them before apples were fully cooled so tore the pastry a bit. Next time I will TRY to be more patient. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    July 31, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Hello! I just wanted to say, that this recipe turned out great! The dough is awesomely delicious – after trying and buying a dozen different tasteless doughy crusts, this one finally is a winner! It’s super tasty, enough so that my husband was actually eating some of it raw! πŸ™‚

    I threw in some cinnamon, clove and allspice into the dough to spice it up a little and mixed it by hand with a pastry cutter since I don’t have a large enough food processor. In addition to the apple filling, I also used some blueberry and cherry pie filling I canned last year. I noticed the dough was a tad crumbly, next time I’ll add a bit more water as mentioned in the recipe, and perhaps even chill the dough overnight like I do for my sugar cookie recipe.

    At any rate, these were awesome and it’s definitely a recipe I’ll be making again. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Life’s a Picnic! Great Ideas for Your Family Picnic – Shelf Scouter
    May 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

    […] You can individually wrap each pie in parchment paper making packing and serving even easier! Click HERE for the […]

  • Reply
    Ma Toscano
    October 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I loved this whole recipe but the crust was by far the best I have ever made!
    As I got the ingredients together I was a bit hesitant with the 2.5 sticks of butter required – my reaction was “this crust better be worth it”. It was even better than I expected!
    The dough was so easy to work with and the taste was great.
    I notice you said it could be used as a pie crust – I am assuming it would be good for a 2 crust 9 inch pie?
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Ma Toscano! Yes, the pie pastry recipe also works for a 9-inch double crust pie.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kathy
    July 23, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Look great – can you bake ahead of time and keep them – for kids lunches – some what like the Hostess pies

  • Reply
    Steph
    July 20, 2015 at 6:50 am

    What r the nutrion facts for this recipe.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Sharon
    November 14, 2014 at 7:24 am

    These would be gorgeous on a Thanksgiving dessert table. I wondered if I could make them now and then freeze them to bake right before the big day.

    Your photography is beautiful!

    Sharon

  • Reply
    Brenda
    November 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Can the hand pies be sent through the mail? If so, how would you package them?

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hi, Brenda! I would honestly be really nervous to mail these. They aren’t terribly fragile, but I don’t know how you would keep them from getting smashed. Also, depending on how far you send them, they may not keep fresh…

  • Reply
    Robn
    October 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I am having a party for 50 people and would love to make the dough and apples ahead of time and then bake the day before the party. Do you think I could make the dough and then keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, prepare the apple filling, refrigerate and then use it a few days later? Would you reheat the apples or could I just use them cold?

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 28, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Hi Robn! You can definitely make the dough in advance – although I would freeze it if you plan to make it more than a day or two before baking. Wrap it very tightly in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. The day of, place it in the fridge and proceed with the rest of the recipe. As for the apples, I’ve never prepared the filling in advance, and I probably wouldn’t make them any sooner than the night before (they will release a lot of liquid). They can be used cold, no need to reheat. Hope that helps! I’d love to hear how they turn out!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ SnixyKitchen
    October 18, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    These apple hand pies are perfection. I could eat one of these hand pies for dessert every meal of the day. And your photography is gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Leanne Battelle
    October 9, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Love your photos. What lense do you use? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Thank you so much, Leanne! I believe those were shot with a Nikon 35mm/f1.8g (dx) lens… I’ve since upgraded my camera/lenses, but that was mostly what I was shooting with then. Email me if you have other questions!

  • Reply
    Erin
    September 17, 2014 at 7:23 am

    You put “1/4 sugar” in your crust recipe. Do you mean 1/4 cup?

    Can’t wait to try these!!

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Yes, it should say 1/4 cup of sugar. I’ve corrected the recipe πŸ™‚ Hope you love them!

      • Reply
        Erin
        September 20, 2014 at 7:49 am

        They are delicious! Love love love the crust.

        • Reply
          Laura
          September 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

          Yay! So glad you love them! That crust is great with other pastries too…

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    March 16, 2014 at 12:08 am

    These were amazing! I used all organic ingredients and honeycrisp apples… I had no nutmeg so I did cinnamon and vanilla extract with a pinch of clove and it still came out delish! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I will forever use your crust recipe!

  • Reply
    rachel
    March 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I am planning a baby shower for my sister. We will have about 40 people. I make pie a lot and thought these hand pies would be cute on my rustic wood and iron cupcake stand! I have to make a lot and I have 3 little boys! Will store bought pie crust work too??

    • Reply
      Laura
      March 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Hi, Rachel! Store-bought pie crust will work. I would just double check the package directions in case there’s anything different than my instructions. Hope you all love them!

  • Reply
    Alisha
    December 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Hello, I’m new to this baking thing. When you say cream what do you mean? Really want to try this. Thanks xx

    • Reply
      Laura
      December 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Alisha! I’m referring to heavy whipping cream, to brush the tops of the pies with before baking. I’ve updated the wording on the recipe… Let me know if you have any other questions and how they turn out! Merry Christmas!

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  • Reply
    Karen
    November 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Yes, I love them – hand pies! Not quite the commitment of a whole slice of pie. They look so fresh and homey. Your photos pop – beautiful work!

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you, Karen!!

  • Reply
    Analida
    October 30, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    These look delicious. Apple pie is a great reason to love fall, and so is the ice cream accompaniment.

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Thank you, Analida! I love apple pie just about ANY time of year! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tasha
    October 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    How do you store leftovers?

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Tasha, I just put the leftovers in a big air-tight tupperware. For a day or so I think they’re fine at room temperature, but any longer and I would refrigerate them.

  • Reply
    Haley
    October 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    These look absolutely divine! Quick question: a friend of mine who makes perfect pie crust recently gave me her recipe. However, she puts egg in her pie crust. Do you think using her recipe with egg in it would work ok for these hand pies? I’m new to this whole thing so I have no idea! Just wanted to get your thought….thanks!

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Thank you, Haley! Definitely feel free to use your friend’s recipe – I don’t think the egg in the dough will be an issue. I would just make sure to watch the pies ever so often while they’re baking, just in case her dough bakes faster/slower… Let me know how it turns out! πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Haley
        November 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

        Ok so they turned out fabulously! I doubled the recipe and made half of them apple and the other half blueberry. Everyone loved them! Thanks!

        • Reply
          Laura
          November 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm

          Yay! I’m so glad you liked them! What did you do for the blueberry filling?

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Looks delicious. My son is allergic to eggs so always on the lookout for egg free desserts. Is it 2 1/2 sticks of butter or 2 1/2 cups butter or is that the same thing as you have 2 1/2 sticks (cups) in the recipe. Also, what apples would you recommend?

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Thanks, Christina! Sorry for the confusion, I omitted the number of cups! It should be 2 and a half sticks of butter, which translates to 1.5 cups.

      I used a combination of apples – Pink Lady, McIntosh, and Jonagold I believe – but feel free to use whatever apples you have available. I generally look for firm, tart and sweet apples, that can hold their own through the baking process. Let me know how it goes! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Dina
    October 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    the pies look delish!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Dina!!

  • Reply
    Laura
    October 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    These are such gorgeous pictures! How do you reheat after freezing the pies, do they just go back in the oven?

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much, Laura! You have to plan ahead slightly if you know you are going to freeze the pies… I know there are some different schools of thought, but what works for me is to make the pies according to the recipe, but freeze them right before you would brush them with the cream wash/sugar. Then thaw them overnight (in the refrigerator) and add the cream/sugar step and bake as you would normally.

      I know with some pie recipes, you can bake directly from frozen, but I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure how that would turn out… Also, if you’re working with especially juicy apples, sometimes adding just a few teaspoons of flour to the filling keeps it from getting too watery/runny during the freezing/de-thawing step. Let me know if you try them! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
    October 24, 2013 at 10:37 am

    These pictures are so beautiful Laura! There’s nothing like apples in the fall, is there?? πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Oh, thank you so much, Nicole! I am seriously obsessed with apples at the moment! πŸ™‚