These Apple Hand Pies are portable and delicious, and bring back memories of those little pies in the grocery store checkout line. You could use this base pastry recipe and mix and match all sorts of pie fillings to suit your tastes and use up seasonal fruit.
Apple Pie: rustic, flaky, tart, and spicy. The most iconic of American traditions.
These marvelous little pies package up the best parts of apple pie, eliminate a lot of the work, and deliver scrumptious, addictive fruit-wrapped-in-crust that can be stowed away in your pocket for safe keeping.
I originally shared these apple hand pies with you way, way, wayyyyyyy back in the dark ages of 2008. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve made them myself, but when Joseph saw an episode of his favorite show, Hey Duggee, and it featured an apple pie, he proceeded to walk around the house saying “apple pieeeeeeeee” for days and days. He’d never had apple pie; how could I deprive my child of something so delicious?? I immediately thought of these hand pies, since they would be much easier for him to eat than a slice of apple pie, and I got baking!
The dough for this recipe is really just incredible. I admit that I was somewhat skeptical at first, as it contained sour cream. I had never heard or seen sour cream used in a pie or pastry dough before, so it certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow. But like the good trooper that I am, I forged ahead. This dough has such an incredibly buttery, flaky texture, much like that of a laminated dough you would create for croissants. When you bite into one of these pies, the crust just flakes and shatters, which is basically a crust-lover’s dream come true.
I made two modifications to this recipe (and those changes are reflected in the recipe as it’s written below):
The original recipe required A LOT of time chilling ingredients and the dough at different steps, which I have now condensed a bit. I didn’t find there to be any reduction in the quality of the final crust by doing so. I also made the dough mixing step a little easier to execute, as well.
I added a little cinnamon to the filling – I can’t believe I left it out originally!
I couldn’t wait to get these baked and cooled enough for Joseph to try one. When I told him I had made him little apple hand pies, he said, “APPLE PIE?!?!”
I gave him half of one and he went over and sat on the fireplace, took a bite, and said, “Mmmmmmmm!” He polished it off quickly and then requested the other half. I’m so happy that I could make his apple pie dreams come true, ha!
These hand pies are a fantastic option for changing up the traditional slice of pie and ice cream and would be especially welcome as a dessert at an outdoor gathering or one that included small children.
And really, for the kid in all of us – what’s much better than a slice of apple pie that you can pick up and carry around with you?
Make the Pastry: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water. Add to the flour mixture and, using a fork, gently toss and stir together until large lumps form and all of the flour has been moistened. Using your hands, pat the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour (if preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month).
Assemble the Pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining half of dough. Refrigerate the dough circles for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender. Set aside. Prior to preparing the pies, drain any accumulated liquid from the apples.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Brush a little water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the assembled hand pies for 30 minutes.
Bake the Pies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Using a paring knife, cut a few small slits on the top of each hand pie, then sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled the dough. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving. The pies are best eaten within a day of baking them, but they can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a freezer storage bag and frozen for up to 2 months.
Feel free to use any type of apple you'd like in this recipe, as it's quite forgiving. I've used Granny Smith, Gala, and Honeycrisps!