Apple pie is an all American classic but want to really blow it out of the park? Make these darling apple hand pies for your guests!
Hello again sweet friends! It’s Shiran from Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
It’s been quite a busy time for me as I’ve spent the last few months writing my eBook Delicious Food Photography. I’m so excited that it’s finally ready (you can scroll down for more details), and now I’m back to share with you a very special treat—apple hand pies!
What Kind of Apples are Best for Pies?
Granny Smith apples are generally our go-to baking apple, but, here are some other excellent baking apples.
Jonagold: Jonagolds hold up exceptionally well in the oven.
Honeycrisp: This is our desert-island apple.
Braeburn: This superbly crisp apple has a concentrated taste and bakes up juicy but not mushy.
Mutsu: Also known as Crispin, this firm-fleshed, less tart option is similar in flavor to a Golden Delicious.
But it excels when it comes to structure, keeping more of a solid firmness.
Mutsus are great for pies or other recipes that call for gentle cooking.
Winesap: Intensely flavored with deep cider-y notes, these apples resist breaking down during cooking and deliver great complexity to baked goods.
Pink Lady (or Cripps Pink): Balanced between sweet, tart, and tannic notes. It will retain its distinct shape when cooked.
There’s something very comforting in individual desserts that you know you don’t have to share with anyone. That’s one of the reasons why I really like these hand pies. That, plus that they’re really delicious. I often make them for gatherings because they’re the perfect easy-to-snack-on individual size.
To make these hand pies, you’ll first need to prepare the dough. I have a visual guide for making a dough here. If you prefer a store-bought dough, you can use it instead. I’ve tried that a few times and the pies still tasted great (just don’t tell my mom I said that), but nothing beats a homemade flakey, crispy, buttery crust.
How do You Keep Pie Crust From Shrinking?
Higher temperatures make the gluten in pie crusts tighten up and shrink a bit.
So if your recipe requires pre-baking the pie crust, it will shrink less if you bake it “low and slow” (around 350 degrees F).
For the filling you only need to combine the apples with a few other ingredients and you’re done.
A few notes:
– Always work with a cold dough. If it gets soft, put it back into the fridge for a few minutes to cool back down.
– Brushing the tops with an egg wash (a mixture of egg and water) will give the pies that shiny, pretty look. You can use heavy cream or milk instead.
– Chop the apples into very small cubes to make sure they’re cooked in the short 15 minute cook time.
Can You Freeze Pie Dough?
To freeze, wrap the unbaked pie crust tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in a freezer bag and seal tightly.
There’s no need to thaw the unbaked crust — you can bake it straight out of the freezer.
For best results, use the frozen pie dough or frozen pie crusts within 3 months.
Apple Hand Pies
Apple Hand Pies
For the crust:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 350 g/12.3 oz
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes, 2 sticks/227 g
- ¼– ½ cup very cold water, 60-120 ml
For the filling:
- 2 cups small diced apples, peeled, cored (2 medium apples)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 50 g/1.8 oz
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For brushing and sprinkling:
- egg wash, 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- coarse or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Make the dough:
- Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds until combined.
- Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses.
- Add ¼ cup water and keep pulsing, adding more water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough isn’t dry and starts to clump together.
- Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed, rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps.
- Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a ball.
- Divide ball in half, then flatten each half slightly with your hands to form a thick disc.
- Wrap each disc with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
- Make the filling:
- In a large bowl, toss together apples and lemon juice.
- Add all other ingredients and mix to combine.
- Set aside.
- Assemble the pies:
- Preheat oven to 425F/220C.
- Roll out the dough: Working with one disc at a time, take dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.
- Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can.
- Reroll the scraps of dough and repeat.
- Transfer half of the circles to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the edges with egg wash.
- Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle, leaving a border around the filling.
- Place the remaining circles on top to form a pie.
- Using a fork, crimp around the edges to seal.
- Cut a small x-shaped slit in the center of each pie center to let steam escape while baking.
- Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes.
- Let cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer pies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- Store pies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
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