Apple Hand Pies


I have a friend. His name is Ryan (see the gentleman below with the good form) and he hates cake. But looooves pie. So when he invited me to his birthday party, which promised three-legged races, sack in the hole and an egg and wooden spoon race, I figured it’d be nice to bake him a pie.

And since I spent the whole summer dreaming about some variety of Hand Pies, I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Hand Pies are basically the cuter, smaller version of bigger pies. They’re portable and perfect for things like fall picnics in the park…or eating in bed with one hand while typing with the other. Whatever.

Oh can we talk about something? It’s been bugging me for awhile…it’s about pie…

“Easy as pie” is probably the dumbest and most inaccurate idiom that exists. Because anyone that’s made a pie knows it’s the farthest thing from easy.

Eating it is totally easy, making it…not so much.

The thing that makes pie a little tough is the crust. That’s where the main source of stress comes from. Mainly because pie dough has a total attitude. It can be uncooperative, unpredictable and fickle.

Remember last season on Top Chef when all of those amazing chefs were scrabbling and all stressed out over pie? Yeah, that was me Saturday morning. I was sweating, covered in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, hoping and crossing my fingers that these Apple Hand Pies worked out…or else I would’ve had to revert to my plan b: go to this place, buy one and attempt to pass it off as my own. Awkward.

Luckily they worked out. And I learned the only thing that can make a pie work is patience, care, a whole lot of hope and a few good tips…and I have them!

Okay, this is when the pictures of how to make the crust are supposed to come in…but I don’t have ’em. BUT if you hop over to Joy the Baker, she has some step-by-step photos, which are super helpful.

After a whole lot of research, I settled on her Buttermilk Pie Crust. I highly recommend it. It was super tender and flakey and it didn’t use shortening! I also made it the night before which made my life a whole lot easier. It took me about 20 minutes from start to finish. Amazing.

I used a mix of McIntosh and Granny Smith. Pretty straightforward, right? I peeled them, cut them in half, cut out the core (since I don’t own a corer) and diced them up. I’d actually recommend dicing them as small as you can get them (I’ll explain later).

Then I took out my first wrapped pie dough out of the fridge. I let it sit for 2-3 minutes on the counter to warm up a bit. It was easier to roll out. It was still kinda crumbly so I kneaded it a bit to distribute the moisture.

I rolled it out to about 1/6-inch thickness and cut out 5-inch circles using the cup from my juicer machine. If you have a biscuit cutter that size, then you’re officially more awesome than me.

After I cut them out, I put ’em on a baking sheet lined with parchment and stuck them back in the fridge for 15 minutes. If you peek back in the fridge and you see little bits of butter in the dough then just close it and pat yourself on the back. That means the dough is gonna be awesome.

I took them out and let them sit for 2 minutes so they’d be easier to fold. If they’re too cold, they’ll just crack when you try to fold them.

Two things that I had on hand that are not pictured: a ramekin of water and a ramekin of egg wash. Both things will be needed. Oh and a fork! You’ll need a fork.

I took a small spoonful of the diced apples and put them on one side of the dough. I stuck my finger in the ramekin of water and ran it all along the edge of the dough. This is gonna seal the two halves together. (If you look closely you can see a bit of moisture along its edge. Good eye.)

Then fold it down and press them together using a fork. If I didn’t have to simultaneously take pictures, I swear they would’ve been a little neater…maybe. I’m not blaming you or anything…

You’re gonna then brush them with some egg wash, make a slit in the top and then stick them back in the fridge for another 15 minutes.

When they’re nice and cold, you’ll then transfer them to a piping hot oven for 20-30 minutes, or until beautiful and brown…

And then they’ll come out looking like this…

Apple Hand Pies

Yields about 13-15 hand pies

Buttermilk Pie Crust recipe from Joy the Baker

Print this gigantic recipe! Please?

Pie Crust:

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 (12 ounces) cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (5 to 6 ounces) cold buttermilk

Pie Filling:

1 pound of McIntosh apples (2 medium)

1 pound of Granny Smith apples (2 medium)

1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Egg wash

For Crust:

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Measure out the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold (you could even put it in the freezer for a few minutes too).

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Take the cold butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture.

Dump the cold butter cubes and flour mixture onto a large work area for rolling. With a rolling pin, roll the mixture, flattening the butter cubes with the flour into long, thin, floured butter sheets. Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold. Below is what the rolled butter and flour look like after I’ve gathered them together on the work surface a bit.

Place the flour and flattened butter back in the large bowl and chill for 10 minutes. When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, make a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Add the cold buttermilk to the bowl all at once. Begin to bring the dough together with one hand (keep the other hand free to answer the phone).

Moisten all of the flour with the milk, using your hand to break up large clumps of milk and flour. The dough will be rather shaggy, but you can add another tablespoon of buttermilk, if you see that all your flour isn’t moistened. Form the dough into two disks. The disks will be rough, and hard to shape together, but once they rest in the fridge for an hour, they’ll be easier to roll out.

Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator. At this point, the dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks. For freezing, roll the dough out into sheets and wrap them in plastic film.

For Apple Pie Filling:

Peel, core and cut apples in half, and dice. You want the dice to be rather small. It’ll make it easier to fill your hand pies. Then toss the diced apples with the lemon juice and zest. In a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, salt and spices together and toss with the diced apples. Set aside.

For Apple Hand Pie Assembly:

Are you having fun yet?! I am!!

Okay, now…remove one half of your pie dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 2-3 minutes. Roll the dough out to a 1/6-inch thickness. Grab a 5-inch biscuit cutter (I used the cup from my juicer machine) and cut out as many circles as possible. I had to re-roll the dough a few times to use it all up. Place your dough circles out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Take out your second pie dough half from the refrigerator and repeat the steps above. You should end up with 13-15 dough circles.

Grab a ramekin of water, ramekin of egg wash and the bowl of the apple pie filling. Remove the first baking sheet of dough circles from the fridge. You might want to let the dough sit for a 1-2 minutes so they’re a bit more pliable. If the dough is too cold, then it’ll break and crack when you try and fold it over.

Take a tablespoon of the apple pie filling and place it on one half of your dough circle. Brush the bottom edge with a small amount of water and fold over the top half so it’s now a half moon shape. Take a fork and press the edges to bind them together. Brush with egg wash and make a slit on the top. Repeat over and over until you’ve assembled all of your hand pies. Place them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and put them back in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes to chill.

At this time, pre-heat the oven 375 degrees. When the hand pies are done chilling, remove from the refrigerator and place in the piping hot oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

You’ll know when they’re just about done because your house will be engulfed with the most amazing smell of spices and apples!

Place them on a cooling rack…or eat warm like I did!

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Naomi October 4, 2010 at 3:08 am

    I think pie crust is one of those things, like riding a bike, that seems really scary at first but once you get the hang of it become second nature and you’re like “what was I so worried about?”

    I made a normal-sized apple pie for a friend’s housewarming on Saturday, but I still have some crust lounging in my freezer so perhaps I’ll have to try these.

    Oh, and of course, if you’re looking for apple pie in L.A. there’s only one place you can go- The Apple Pan.

    • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 9:32 am

      Agreed! Apple Pan is so amazing. Their banana creme pie is ridiculous.

  • Reply nelly October 4, 2010 at 7:35 am

    delicious!!! thanks for sharing such a beautiful treat!

  • Reply Maria October 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Perfect little dessert for fall!

  • Reply Becky October 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I was daydreaming earlier about something new to use some extra apples on, then logged on and saw this! Perfection. My hubby loves apple pie and I have a super easy and delicious pie crust recipe to use! (wish I could share, but the source swore me to secrecy) A friend made hand pies once, but fried them (which I try to avoid) so this baker recipe is seriously EXACTLY what I want. It’s like you knew somehow. Thank you x100 : )

    • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

      DRAT! I love secrets! And especially secret recipes.

      • Reply Becky October 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

        Haha, so sorry! Wish I could share too!

        Also, I was just writing down the recipe and noticed that after the flour, it says “1/4 ground”…is this a typo or a mystery ingredient? : )


        • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

          Ha…nope! I don’t keep secrets! πŸ˜‰

          (It’s fixed now.)

          • Becky October 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm

            Haha, hey now πŸ˜‰

            Thank you! I’m going to make these tonight – can’t wait!

          • BrighidK October 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

            If you aren’t using fresh ground nutmeg and are instead using McCormick’s version, about how many teaspoons is 1/4?

  • Reply [email protected] October 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

    love your blog! a friend just sent me this link and these suckers look absolutely delicious! i went apple picking this weekend, i must try these out.:)

    • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

      yay, so glad you found me! i’m hoping to go apple picking next week. can’t wait!

  • Reply Joanne October 4, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Yeah someone really needs to take up this “Easy as pie” business with Webster’s or Roget’s or someone. I don’t know who.

    These hand pies are just gorgeous! I have never successfully (or at least not successfully enough to my liking) made pie crust before. It’s hard stuff! I love that you don’t have to use shortening for this. That stuff is the bane of my existence. And that is one fine looking friend you have there. Wink wink?

    • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

      You can doooo it! And yes, Ryan is a super-duper handsome dude.

  • Reply kamran siddiqi October 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! Lovely photos. And Great idea! I love pies and making portable pies is absolutely wonderful! Great post! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Nancy October 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    These look delicious; however, I don’t think I ever heard of anyone HATING cake! Good thing Ryan’s cute.

  • Reply Micshi October 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I found your blog on cupcakesandcashmere, love it! These look so yummy

  • Reply Danielle October 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Adrianna,
    I wanted to tell you I tried one of these delicious pies, and they were still warm, and full of goodness! Thank you for bringing them to the party! I agree, Ryan is HOT! πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Adrianna October 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      Hi Danielle! So glad you liked them! Had a super fun time on Saturday.

  • Reply ronda-view October 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    The pies look great! Adorable. But which one is Ryan?? the butt shot or the profile angle?

  • Reply Taryn October 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Did you know that you can freeze handpies for up to 3 months (you actually get better results if you throw them in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking), then just throw them straight into the oven from the freezer? Just add 5-10 minutes to the baking time. Awesome tip I learned from the local paper’s food section. It’s great when I want something for dessert but don’t have time to bake.

    See the article for more great tips!

    • Reply Adrianna October 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

      Freeze them for 3 months?! That’s amazing!

  • Reply Heavenly Housewife October 5, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I’ve got loads of apples from my apple trees this year and am looking for cool recipes to use some of them up (a girl can only eat so much applesauce). This looks fantastic.
    *kisses* HH

  • Reply Tina October 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

    These hand pies are so adorable! Although this recipe scares me to death, I’d love to try it with the gorgeous apple season in full swing. Happy to hear it was a success and hope ur friend enjoyed ’em immensely. Gosh I’m a tad bit envious that u can bake and cook wonderfully.

    • Reply Adrianna October 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      Nooooo…don’t be scared! I believe in you.

  • Reply Nicole October 5, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Oh, I love hand pies so much. Mmmm…golden crust and spiced apples inside. I wish you were coming to MY birthday party πŸ™‚

  • Reply sterling style October 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    oh these are so cute! I am not sure I could make these so beautifully. They look divine!

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  • Reply Adriana from Baking Powders October 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    i wish i didn’t have a ton of stuff to read right now, cause i just want to make those… i guess i can wait till the weekend comes, because fall has come to portland and those are a delicious way to forget about the cold

  • Reply Carolyn Jung October 6, 2010 at 9:01 am

    A man who hates cake? Is there such a person?? πŸ˜‰
    Ahh, but then, anyone would love these cute little apple hand pies, no matter what.

  • Reply Kasey October 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Perfect for fall! Makes me want to go apple picking πŸ™‚

  • Reply M. October 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I agree, pies are not so easy to make, but sooooo easy to enjoy and in sinful amounts!!!!
    love those adorable hand pies πŸ™‚
    perfect for a fall picnic!

  • Reply Jessica October 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    canNOT wait to make these for my fall party! this will be one of the recipes where I have to hide one for myself in the back of the fridge to be sure to get one. thanks!

  • Reply Ari October 10, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    These are adorable! Smaller pies means less calories, right? I’m keeping this recipe for after I go apple picking. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply {oc cottage} October 11, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh YUM!

    m ^..^

  • Reply Lori October 13, 2010 at 4:24 am

    this sounds wonderful

  • Reply Jess November 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Hiya love this recipe! Its been in my favourites for a while now and as its Guy Fawkes day here in the UK this Friday I think this would be the perfect thing to bake! Is it possible to assemble them the day before baking?

    • Reply Adrianna November 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      Absolutely. Just wrap them with plastic wrap and stick ’em in the fridge. They should be good to go the next day!

  • Reply Marion T. August 22, 2011 at 3:17 am

    We are doing the farmer’s market in Tecumseh, Mich. and I bought some hand pies from a nearby vendor……I did not like them and to get that dull taste out of my mouth I MUST make some so I’m so anxious to make your recipe!!

    Thanks for posting your recipe!!

  • Reply Rachel October 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Just made these and they turned out beautifully!
    However, I was reading through your recipe which said there would be pictures of each step below the text (especially for the crust) and there were no pics there except for the finished product…I’m a pie crust newbie and would have loved to see each step!

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2011 at 12:20 am

      Hi Rachel, Sorry for the confusion! I actually wrote that Joy the Baker has some great step-by-step photos of the crust. I hyperlinked her name so people could easily see them.

  • Reply Stacey October 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I made these last night ( and they came out wonderfully! I did, however, cheat on the pie crust this time, as it was a weekday night and I got home late from work. I’ll try to make the real stuff next time!

  • Reply Caitlin January 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    These look so yummy! They are definitely on my list to make. I just made some butter and I have some “buttermilk” left over, do you think that I could use that in the pie crust? It’s not cultured buttermilk like you buy in the store so I don’t know how it would work with this recipe.

  • Reply Megan W June 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

    So, i love Joy the Baker and trust that her crust was excellent. But….If you’re ever in a pinch…i have never once failed at pie making when using Martha’s crust recipes. Any of them. What can i say, the woman knows pies. (Just so you know)

  • Reply Erica September 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I had to include your hand pies in my post today. Yummo!!!!

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  • Reply Frankie Ngu September 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Love so much stuff on your blog! I’m making you’re ham and cheddar buttermilk biscuits for the kids at my church’s Children Ministry’s snack tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it out!

    Question: can these hand held pies be made 1 day ahead, put into the fridge over night and baked the next day?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 21, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Oh yay! I love those biscuits. These hand pies can actually be put in the freezer the night before and then baked the day of. I’d allow a few extra minutes in the oven since they’re going from frozen to oven! Hope that helps!

      • Reply Frankie Ngu September 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        Thank you so much! Oh the ham & cheddar buttermilk biscuits came out PERFECT! Everyone LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them so much that they have asked for a repeat for next weeks snack!! But for sure the dough MUST BE made the day they are baked. I made 1 batch the night before and put it into the fridge on parchment ready for baking this morning and they didn’t really rise but still tasked wonderful. I made a second batch right away and they turned out so beautiful. Light and fully! Thanks again!! Can’t wait to try these hands pies for a play date coming up!

  • Reply maria August 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Perfect for fall! Makes me want to go apple picking,look so yummy

  • Reply lose weight April 2, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    love this recipe! Its been in my favourites for a while now