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« 20 autumn sweets for your oven | Main | autumn pear cake »

apple-cinnamon hand pies

I've been away...but not far.

I've been in my kitchen, making bread and pies with Julia.

Playing with the kids at the park, the pumpkin patch, just around here.

And working when the kids sleep. Editing, writing...working, working.

But I don't have any cute pictures of that.

I feel bad about missing my weekly post -- especially now that it's finally the official baking season!

So I'm going to straighten up this ship (and totally mix my metaphors) and post more! 

More pies like these....

I'm a lover of so many baked things, but flaky pie crust like this ranks up there near the top.

And this is so flaky...

The's no secret letting the dough chill.

A lot.

It's those chunks of butter in the dough.

The butter likes it cold.

It's a science thing about fats and all that, but I'm not good at describing science I'm just going with it.

Although there's mucho chill time, it makes each step super simple.

Everything's broken up into a few little steps, each followed by a spell in the refrigerator.

Another cool thing -- you can make everything ahead.

In fact, the pie dough or the whole hand pies can be frozen for at least a month. 

Then you can just bake off the pies when you want them.

And the filling is totally up to you. 

I'm partial to cinnamony apples, but you can stuff these hand pies with anything -- pears & raisins, cherries, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, anything.

Just enjoy! Enjoying with the fam is even better. It's more fun that way. :)

Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies

Crust ~ 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1 teaspoon regular salt)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk, cold
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons brandy (or liquor of your choice)
  • apple-cinnamon pie filling (see recipe below) or filling of your choice
  • 1 egg
  • cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling

Place cut-up butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.

In measuring cup, mix together the milk, lemon juice and brandy. Set cup in the freezer while prepping dough.

Place the ice-cold butter bits into the flour mixture and cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or mix in a food processor until most of the flour mixture is lumpy - the largest lumps are somewhere between the size of fat peas and small pebbles. 

Pour the ice-cold milk mixture into the butter-flour mixture and stir together until you can just form a ball out of it. Do not overwork the pie dough.

Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight (I do it overnight).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll chilled dough onto a clean surface until about 1/8" thick. Using a 5" biscuit cutter or bowl, cut out 12 to 13 circles of dough and lay on baking sheet.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until completely chilled.

Place a little water in a small bowl for brushing.

Lightly brush the edges of each circle with a little water and place about 1 tablespoon pie filling in the middle of each circle (my filling was a bit runny at this point, but still baked up deliciously).

Fold the circle in half and pinch the edges together. Use a fork to seal the edges together.

Place on baking pan and freeze hand pies until completely chilled or for up to at least a month.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, lightly beat together 1 egg and 2 teaspoons water.

Lightly brush tops and bottoms of hand pies with egg wash.

Sprinkle each hand pie lightly with cinnamon-sugar mixture, if desired.

Bake for about 30-32 minutes, until hand pies are golden brown and flaky.

Allow to cool somewhat (if you can stand to wait!) and enjoy! I feel like I should say Merry Christmas here. :)

Caramel Apple-Cinnamon Filling ~

  • 2 tart apples, such as Gala or Granny Smith, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

In small bowl, mix together brandy, water and cornstarch.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in cornstarch mixture, salt, both sugars, cinnamon and salt.

Bring mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and somewhat reduced, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour caramel over diced apples and stir quickly until apples are evenly covered.

Cover bowl and chill completely.

Reader Comments (4)

Is there any way of getting around the brandy for the filling? Can I use something else? Or can I just omit it?

Thank you!

August 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRudy

Hey Rudy - Sure, you can sub in something else for the brandy in the filling. Any other alcohol can be subbed, depending on the taste you prefer. Non-alcoholic subs won't burn off the way alcohol does in the oven, but that shouldn't be much a problem in the apple filling! You could probably sub about 1 tablespoon apple juice or cider in place of the brandy. I've also seen suggestions for brandy extract (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) and even apricot juice (about 1 tablespoon). Happy baking!

August 12, 2013 | Registered Commenterblackjack bakehouse

how many does this make, a dozen? and would this work with cherry pie filling as well?

December 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterty king

Hi Ty - Yes, this makes about 12. I think most any kind of pie filling would work, as long as there's not too much juice. If the filling is too runny, you can always drain it off a bit and then fill the pies. :)

December 26, 2013 | Registered Commenterblackjack bakehouse

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