I was mid-way through rolling out the pastry for a French apple tart when I realized that what I was really craving was an apple hand pie, sprinkled with sugar and baked until golden. You may see that tart make a debut here in the future, but for now, we have petite apple hand pies, four inches round and oh-so-delicious.
With a flaky all-butter crust and spiced brown sugar-apple filling, these treats are mini pie perfection. Best of all, they can be made in advance and baked whenever a craving strikes for homemade apple pie.
How to Make Perfect Hand Pies
The first secret to perfect hand pies is chilling your pastry! Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour before rolling and cutting circles of dough with a fluted biscuit cutter. Once you’ve cut out your circles, chill the rounds for at least 15 minutes.
The second secret is the ratio of filling to pastry – use too much filling, and it can be tricky to seal the edges of each pie. For this recipe, a generous tablespoon of filling is just the right amount. Chill your assembled pies one more time (chilling is the key to flaky layers!), then brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until golden brown.
You’ll love these hand pies topped with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce!
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of cloves
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup peeled and diced apple
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp water
- 2 tsp sugar (for sprinkling)
- For the crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add cubed butter and process for 10 seconds, just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the food processor running, add 1/4 cup ice water in a steady stream through feed tube. If needed, add additional ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and process just until dough holds together in large clumps (no more than 30 seconds). Divide dough into two equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic and flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days, or place in a freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place one disc of dough on a floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out until dough is a 12-inch circle, 1/8″ thick (If dough starts to stick, use a floured bench scraper to gently lift dough from board). Use a 4-inch round fluted biscuit cutter to cut out 10 circles of dough (re-roll scraps once). Place circles on baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Repeat with second disc of dough and preheat oven to 400°F.
- For the filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Add apples and melted butter; fold in until combined. To assemble hand pies, whisk together egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Brush 10 chilled circles lightly with egg wash and top with a generous tablespoon of filling. Use a sharp knife to cut vents in remaining circles, and place on top of filling. Seal the edges of each pie by crimping with a fork. Chill assembled pies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Just before baking, brush pies lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, until golden brown. Cool pies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make ahead: Freeze assembled pies on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag for storage. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and bake directly from the freezer, adding 1-2 minutes to baking time. Pate brisee from Martha Stewart.