I love these Apple Hand Pies. I call them double apple hand pies because they're made with a combination of dried apples cooked in orange juice and fresh apples roasted in the oven with an apple pie spice, butter, and sugar to bring out their natural sweetness. These two apple fillings are combined and then packed into a buttery flaky pie crust. The buttery richness of the crust is perfect with tart apple filling.
- Why This Recipe Works
- Apple Hand Pie Recipe Ingredients
- Which Apples Are Great for Baking
- How to Make the Apple Pie Filling
- How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust
- How to Assemble the Apple Hand Pies
- Baking the Hand Pies
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- More Apple Recipes
- Recommended Equipment
- Double Apple Hand Pies
Why This Recipe Works
The flavor in these baked apple hand pies is given a bump by combining fresh and dried apples. Orange juice adds a nice tanginess to the filling. The apples are surrounded by a pie dough that has almost equal amounts of flour and butter which produce a super flaky crust. This hand pie is a great combination of sweet, tart, and buttery goodness.
Hand pies are great. They're just the right size for dessert or an afternoon snack plus they're portable. If you like hand pies check out my recipe for Roasted Peach Hand Pies and Blackberry Hand Pies, two of my favorites.
Apple Hand Pie Recipe Ingredients
This hand pie consists of two recipes:
- Flaky Pie Dough. This dough has almost equal amounts of flour and butter and just a little sugar for sweetness and salt for flavor. It's a simple recipe and the beautiful layers that you see in the final bake come from folding and rolling the dough multiple times. This is the dough that I use for most of my hand pie recipes like Roasted Peach and Rhubarb.
- Apple Filling. This apple filling is made with dried apples and fresh apples. The dried apples are cooked with orange and the fresh apples are roasted in the oven with cinnamon, cardamon, dark brown sugar and unsalted butter. Both cooking methods create an apple flavor bomb.
Which Apples Are Great for Baking
Apples are great for eating fresh and baking, but not all apples are great for baking. Here is a list of a few apples that are great for baking:
- Granny Smith
- Golden Delicious
- Honey Crisp
- Newton Pippen
Use your favorite baking apples to make these hand pies. Growing up, my mother used a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious to make her awesome apple pies. And I still prefer that combination, but today there are so many more varieties available that my mother didn't have access to, that I like to experiment with different apples.
How to Make the Apple Pie Filling
The apple pie filling consists of the following ingredients:
- Dried Apples. Use dried apples that are soft and pliable. Do not use apple chips.
- Orange Juice. The orange juice hydrates the dried apples and adds a nice tart flavor to the apple filling
- Fresh Apples. Use your favorite apples for baking. Granny Smith is one of my favorites to use for baking.
- Ground Cinnamon and Cardamom. I love this spice combination for the filling, but feel free to use your favorite combination and adjust the amounts to your taste. Allspice and nutmeg also work for this recipe.
- Unsalted Butter. The butter adds richness to the apple filling.
- Dark Brown Sugar. Sugar is needed to add sweetness to the filling
This pie filling consists of dried apples and fresh apples, which are cooked separately and then combined. Cooking two separate fillings is a little extra work, but absolutely worth it in terms of flavor.
I experimented with the filling three times to come with the right ratio of dried apples and fresh apples to produce this final filling with a complex taste.
The dried apples are cooked in orange juice with a cinnamon stick. The idea to cook the dried apples in orange juice came from Shirley Corriher's recipe for fried apple hand pies. The orange juice adds a nice tart taste to the apples.
The orange juice and dried apples take about 30 minutes to cook down. When it's done the bottom of the pan will be coated with a thick, delicious orange and apple syrup. Don't walk away while cooking the dried apples or like me, you will end up with a burnt combination of orange juice and dried apples.
Chop the fresh apples and roast them on high heat with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, sugar, and butter. Roasting the fruit brings out the natural sweetness of the apples and creates a delicious sugary syrup that coats the apples.
Combine the two apple fillings together and refrigerate until the filling is cold. Chilling it will help ensure that the dough does not get too warm while assembling the pies.
How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust
This pie crust is intensely butter and flaky and has just 5 ingredients:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- Unsalted Butter
- Granulated Sugar
- Kosher Salt
- Ice Cold Water
This pie crust has almost equal amounts of flour and butter. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss with the flour mixture. Smash the butter into quarter-sized pieces. Once all the dough pieces are flattened, add the water and mix it in with a spatula.
Once all the water is added, smear the dough up the sides of the bowl. Use your knuckles to smear the dough up and rotate the bowl with your other hand to get all the dough. The dough will look very shaggy.
Generously flour a working surface. Pour the dough onto the work surface and knead the dough until it starts to come together. With your hands shape the dough into a rectangle (the dough will still look a little shaggy) gathering up any small pieces. Fold it into thirds and with your hands pat it into a 10 x 8-inch rectangle. Repeat the steps of folding and rolling two more times.
When you're finished roll the dough into an 10 x 8-inch rectangle and divide into two even pieces. The final dough will weigh one kilogram or 2.2 pounds, so each piece should weigh about one (1) pound. Wrap each one in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
How to Assemble the Apple Hand Pies
An apple hand pie is basically an apple pie in individual serving size. When assembling the pies make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go and use a 12 x 12 board to chill the hand pies in the refrigerator. Refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes and then move them to a half baking sheet for baking.
Divide each half of the dough into 6 equal pieces weighing about 80 grams each, then roll each piece into a circle slightly larger than 6 inches. Use a pastry cutter to cut the dough into a precise 6-inch circle. I use the Ateco 6-inch Round Pastry Cutter for my larger hand pies. If you don't have a large pastry cutter you can eyeball it and use a pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut the circle down to 6-inches.
Place about 1/4 cup of the apple filling in the middle of the dough circle. Brush the top edge of the dough circle with egg wash and fold the dough over pressing the edges together. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Chill the pies for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Baking the Hand Pies
Place 6 pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them with the egg wash, cut 3 slits in the top of the pies, and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Make sure you cut the slits after the egg wash. If you add the egg wash the egg wash will close the slits. Bake the pies for about 30 minutes until they are dark golden brown.
These hand pies are perfect while still warm but are still delicious if eaten a day or two later. Eat them plain or with your favorite ice cream. I hope you enjoy them.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- When making the pie dough always use cold water and cold butter
- If the dough starts to get soft wile assembling the hand pies place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill and then start working with the dough again
- Use apples that are still firm and crunchy. Don't use apples that have become mushy. Save those for apple sauce.
- This recipe uses a lot of spices, so make sure the spices are still good and haven't gone stale or lost their flavor.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make the apple filling in advance and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week.
No, you do need to use cornstarch to thicken the filling. Because the apples are cooked before adding them to the pie dough most of the moisture is cooked off.
Yes, you can assemble the hand pies and then freeze them before baking them. Lay them on a parchment lined board or sheet pan in a single layer and stick them in a freezer. When they are frozen (usually 24 hours later) store them in a freezer bag.
Preheat the oven. Place the frozen pies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush them with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake. Add a few minutes to the baking time.
I love answering questions, so if you have a question about making these apples hand pies or pies in general leave a comment below with your question or use the Contact page to send me a note.
If you make this recipe I would love to see the pictures. Connect with me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar and post your picture.
More Apple Recipes
Apples are one of my favorite fruits. If you like apples as much as I do, here are a few more suggestions for apple recipes on the blog.
Double Apple Hand Pies
Flaky Pie Dough
- 2-3/4 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (454 grams) unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1-1/2 cups (116 grams) dried apples
- 1-1/2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 medium apples
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (96 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (50 grams) large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Make the Pie Dough
- The pie dough can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
- Place the flour and the salt in a large stainless steel or glass bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small chunks and with your fingers toss the butter with the flour to coat the butter. With your fingers, smush the butter into flat pieces. Continue smushing the until all the butter is flattened but none of the pieces are larger than a quarter. The flour will look like course cornmeal.
- Add half the water and quickly fold it into the flour/butter mixture with a wooden spoon to distribute the moisture. If the dough appears dry stir in the water 2 tablespoons at a time until the appears shaggy. Use your knuckles or your palm to smear the dough up the sides of the bowl.
- Once you’ve gone all the around the bowl, fold the dough a few times to pick up dry bits. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll to an 8 x 10 rectangle. Fold the dough into letter fold and roll the dough again to an 8 x 10 rectangle. Repeat two more times. The last time fold the dough using a letter fold. Pat it into a rectangle and cut it into two pieces.
- Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 week and frozen for up to 1 month.
Make the Apple Filling
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Combine the dried apples, orange juice and cinnamon stick in a 3-quart sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to o a simmer. Cook until the orange juice reduces to thick syrup, about 30 minutes. There should just be a little syrup coating the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Line a half sheet pan and line with parchment paper.
- While the dried apples cook, peel the apples and cut into a small dice. You should have 4 cups of chopped apples. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, orange zest and whisk to combine. Add the apples and toss to coat the apples. Spread the apples into a single layer. Cut the butter into about 8 pieces and dot the apples. Bake for 20 minutes and stir the apples. Stir the apples every 10 minutes until the sugar mixture has turned into a syrup, about 40 minutes.
- Scrape the apples into a large bowl, add the cooked dried apples and stir to combine. Cool the mixture to room temperature. The mixture can also be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.
Assemble the Hand Pies
- Remove one piece of oue dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces about 80 grams each. Roll out each piece into a rough circle slightly larger than 6 inches and then use a 6-inch pastry cutter to cut out a circle. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the center. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Fold the dough in half. Seal the edges with a fork or crimp the edges. Chill the hand pies for 30 minutes. Repeat with the other dough half.
- While the hand pies are chilling preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine the raw sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make the egg wash by combining the egg and milk and whisking together with a fork.
- Remove 6 pies from the refrigerator. Place them on the baking sheet, brush with egg wash and cut three slits across the top of the pies. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top.
- Bake the pies for 30-35 minutes until the top of the hand pies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Serve the pies warm or at room temperature.