A sweet and comforting recipe for homemade apple hand pies, with a buttery crust and spiced brown sugar apple filling, these handheld treats are a favorite way to bake up freshly-picked Fall apples.
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.
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.
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.