These delicious Apple Hand Pies are made with a combination of dried apples, fresh apples, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, and butter and baked in a buttery pie dough until the crust is dark golden brown and incredibly flaky. In the recipe below I'll show you how to make the most incredible buttery, flaky pie crust and an apple pie filling that will have you wanting more.
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The Ingredients for Apple Hand Pies
- Apple Pie Filling
- Pie Crust
- How to Make Apple Hand Pies
- How to Make the Flaky Pie Crust
- How to Make the Apple Pie Filling
- How to Bake the Apple Hand Pies
- How to Store the Apple Hand Pies
- Which Apples Are Great for Baking
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Like These Hand Pies Try These Pie Recipes
- Apple Hand Pies
In my quest to create an apple hand pie with as much flavor as possible, I stumbled across the idea of using dried and fresh apples. The flavor is made even better by rehydrating the dried apples in orange juice which gives the apple filling a unique sweet tangy flavor.
This recipe is easy to follow and produces delicious results every time. The crust is made with simple ingredients like flour, butter, and water, and the apple filling is made with dried apples and tart Granny Smith apples. And if you want to make these in advance for a special occasion or a party the unbaked pies can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Here are just a few reasons why you'll love this apple hand pie recipe:
- The pie crust is incredibly flaky and buttery. The buttery richness pairs so well with the tart apple filling.
- The apple filling is sweet and tart, and it's packed with flavor with a combination of tart apples, dried apples, orange juice, cinnamon, and cardamom.
- The hand pies are portable and easy to eat, making them perfect for on-the-go snacking.
- They're perfect for any occasion, from a casual gathering to a special event.
The Ingredients for Apple Hand Pies
This hand pie recipe consists of two recipes: apple pie filling and the pie crust. Here are the ingredient lists:
Apple Pie Filling
- Granny Smith Apples: The tart flavor of Granny Smith Apples is perfect in this recipe when combined with the sweetness of the dried apples. Fuji and Honeycrisp apples also work in this recipe.
- 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. A lot of apple hand pie recipes call for lemon juice, but orange juice is less acidic and adds a nice sweetness to the apples along with some tartness.
- Orange Zest. The zest adds a nice subtle citrusy note to the bakes apples.
- Fresh Apples. Use your favorite apples for baking. Granny Smith apples are my favorite apples for pies.
- Ground Cinnamon and Cardamom. I love this spice combination for the filling but feel free to use your favorite spice blend 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.
- Light Brown Sugar: Brown sugar not only adds sweetness but also a subtle molasses flavor. You can also use dark brown sugar.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: Provides the structure for the pie crust.
- Cold Unsalted Butter: Butter provides the flavor and flakiness of the pie. Use unsalted butter, because different brands of salted butter contain different amounts of salt and it's better to control the salt by adding salt.
- Kosher Salt: The salt enhances the flavor of the pie crust.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar adds a little sweetness and helps with the browning of the dough as it bakes.
- Ice Cold Water: Water holds everything together. Ice-cold water helps ensure that the butter stays cold. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of water. The dough will be a little wet, but as the dough rests and chills it will absorb the water. Start with half the water and add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time. In most instances, you'll use all the water, but I've found that during the winter I might not use all the water because of the moisture in the air.
How to Make Apple Hand Pies
These apple hand pies consist of two recipes: one for the pie crust and one for. the apple filling. Though both recipes require a little more work than most apple hand pie recipes you'll see that the flavor is worth the extra work.
I recommend making the pie crust first. It needs time to chill. It can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
How to Make the Flaky Pie Crust
I love making this pie dough. I learned to make the dough before I started the blog and since then have used it for some of my favorite recipes, including strawberry hand pies. It's tender and buttery and absolutely delicious.
For the best results when making this pie dough use cold butter straight from the refrigerator and ice-cold water. Because I make pies throughout the year I keep a small jar of water in the refrigerator to always have ice water on hand.
Homemade pie crust will give you the best results and this recipe is absolutely the best pie crust recipe for these apple hand pies. It's an incredibly flaky buttery crust. This flaky pie dough contains almost equal parts of butter and flour.
The secret to creating a really flaky dough (besides the butter) is the multiple turns of the dough. A turn is the step of folding the dough, rolling it out, and then folding it again.
Use a large stainless steel bowl so you will have plenty of room to work the dough into the flour and then schmear it against the sides of the bowl without getting flour and bits of butter everywhere.
Step 1: Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and place them back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
Step 3: Add the butter to the bowl and use your hands to toss the butter into the dry ingredients until the cubes of butter are coated.
Step 4: Smash each cube of butter until they’re all flat and about the size of a quarter.
Step 5: When all the butter is smashed, add the ice-cold water and fold it into the dough with a rubber spatula.
At this point, the dough should still be cool to the touch. However, if the dough feels warm or the butter is not holding its shape, stick the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up the butter.
Step 6: Use the knuckles of one of your hands to smear the dough up the sides of the bowl. Work your way all the way around the bowl until all the dough has been smeared.
Step 7: Pour the dough onto a well-floured work surface.
The dough should feel moist and soft and still be a little cool to the touch.
Step 8: Form the dough into a rectangle with the short end facing you. The dough will still be shaggy and crumbly at this point, but it should be still cool to the touch.
Step 9: Form the dough into a rectangle with the short end facing you. The dough will still be shaggy and crumbly at this point, but it should be still cool to the touch.
The pie dough will be a little sticky and soft, but a little flour on your hands and on top of the dough will make it easier to work with.
If you're making the dough on a warm day the dough may become too soft. If that happens stick the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then finish making the dough.
Step 10: Fold the dough into thirds using a letter fold. Rotate the dough a quarter-turn, Press it out into a rectangle with your hands. Repeat the folds and turns two more times.
Step 11: Repeat the steps of rolling dough and folding it into thirds two more times.
Step 12: Fold the dough into thirds using a letter fold. Rotate the dough a quarter-turn, Press it out into a rectangle with your hands. Repeat the folds and turns two more times.
Step 13: Repeat the steps of rolling dough and folding it into thirds two more times.
Step 15: Form the dough into an 8x10-inch rectangle. Cut it into two equal pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour and up to 2 days before making the hand pies.
How to Make the Apple Pie Filling
This delicious apple 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 up with the right ratio of dried apples and fresh apples to produce this final filling with a complex taste.
Cook the dried apples in orange juice with a cinnamon stick until the orange juice has reduced and thickened to a delicious orange and apple syrup that coats the bottom of the pan.
Step 1: Combine the dried apples, orange juice, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan
Step 2: Cook the dried apples until almost all the orange juice is gone and the bottom of the pan is coasted with a thick syrup.
Don't walk away while cooking the dried apples, or like me, you'll end up with a burnt combination of orange juice and dried apples.
Now let's make the fresh apple filling portion of these amazing hand pies.
Step 3: Peel the fresh apples and chop them into 1-inch chunks.
Step 4: Place the brown sugar in a large bowl and zest the orange directly into the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar.
Step 5: Add the cardamom, salt, and cinnamon to the brown sugar-orange zest mixture.
Step 6: Toss the fresh apples with brown sugar and spice mixture until the apples are completely coated.
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.
Step 7: Place the apple brown sugar mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 8: Bake the apples until the brown sugar syrup is bubbling and the apples are soft.
Step 9: Combine the two apple fillings together and refrigerate the filling until it is cold. Chilling it will help ensure that the dough does not get too warm while assembling the pies.
How to Bake the Apple Hand Pies
Now it's time to take that wonderful apple filling and the buttery pie dough and make some hand pies.
Step 1: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Letting the dough warm up a bit will make it easier to roll out.
Step 2: Divide each half of the dough into 6 equal pieces weighing about 80 grams each.
Step 3: Roll each piece into a circle slightly larger than 6 inches. Use a pastry cutter to cut the dough into a 6-inch circle.
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.
Step 4: Place about 1/4 cup of the apple filling in the middle of each of the dough circles.
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: Chill the pies for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Step 7: Place 4 pies on a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Brush the pies with egg wash, then cut three slits on top of each pie. Sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
Make sure to cut the slits into the top of the hand pies after they are brushed with egg wash. If the egg wash is added after cutting the slits, the egg wash will close the slits.
Step 8: Bake the pies for about 15-18 minutes until they are dark golden brown color and you can easily see the flaky layers. The baking time may vary based on your brand and style of oven.
Step 9: Remove the hand pies from the oven. Let the pies rest for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Let the baking sheet cool completely before baking the next set of pies.
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.
How to Store the Apple Hand Pies
The baked apple hand pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. After 2 days store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container or individually wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
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.
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 while assembling the hand pies place the dough in the refrigerator for 20 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 apple 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.
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If You Like These Hand Pies Try These Pie Recipes
Apple Hand Pies
Flaky Pie Dough
- 3-1/4 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (454 grams) unsalted butter cold
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 2 cups (227 grams) dried apples
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 3 (530 grams) chopped Granny Smith apples cut into small dice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 1 (50 grams) large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated 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 them into a small dice. You should have a little over 4 cups of chopped apples. Melted the butter. ombine 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.
- Zest the orange into the brown sugar and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. Add the salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg to the sugar mixture and whisk together. Pour the melted butter over the apples and toss the mixture together.
- Spread the apples into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the apples for about 20 minutes or until the sugar and butter start to bubble and looks thicker. Stir the apples every 10 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.
- 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 15-17 minutes until the top of the hand pies are golden brown and the pies have risen. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Serve the pies warm or at room temperature.