As an Italian, the sweet table at holidays rivals that of our dinner table. I come from a family of bakers and not just average bakers, great bakers. Pie making, pastry wielding bakers. Bakers that make me feel incompetent with a whisk and mixer. In case you haven’t caught on, I’m not a baker. Sure...I can whip out a muffin or two, brownies and easy one-bowl creations. But I hate to measure and I certainly don’t have the patience for butter to soften. Have you noticed that any recipe I’ve shared that uses butter in baking, it’s always melted? Simply put, I don’t have the patience for baking. When I need to make desserts, I want them to be easy and brainless. That’s what inspired me to come up with a few recipes for other people like me this holiday season who are not born bakers and would rather whip up a pot of Coq au Vin than measure out perfectly portioned cupcakes. Starting with these scrumptious Apple Hand Pies that take a shortcut for the hard part.
Refrigerated dough is a girl’s best friend. Really. Pie dough is one of the most temperamental things you can possibly make. While I accept the challenge occasionally, when I’m running a marathon for our back to back Christmas entertaining, the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not the air is dry enough for a flaky pie crust and if I’ve rolled it thin enough. I am not, nor will I ever be, above buying store-bought pie dough, pastry dough, or dough of any other kind. It makes preparing desserts, like these Apple Hand Pies, a breeze. There are so many different possibilities for using store-bought dough both sweet and savory. So if baking is not your specialty or you simply don’t have the time to deal with it, go for the store-bought stuff. It’s worth it.
Let’s talk about these hand pies. There are a few steps in putting them together but each is pretty simple and the result is delightful. I prefer to serve appetizers and desserts that are easy to eat while walking around and chatting with other people. A regular slice of apple pie doesn’t make the cut. But these apple hand pies? They’re the perfect size and can be munched over a napkin with ease. It all starts with the filling. Over medium heat, soften up the apples with sugar and warm spices. Let that cool. Unroll your pie crust. If it feels a little thick, give it a once over with a rolling pin to thin it out a smidge more. Cut out your circles. A cookie cutter will work or the open end of a cup from your cabinet. That’s what I used! Once the dough is cut into circles, line them up on a baking sheet. Start filling each one and sealing the edges. Brush them with a little butter, sprinkle with sugar for a delicious caramelized crust, and call it a day! Voila, you have apple hand pies.
Apple Hand Pies
4-6 Apples, peeled & diced
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1.5 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Cloves
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
1 package store-bought Pie Dough (2 rolls)
½ stick Butter, melted
Turbinado or Cane Sugar for sprinkling
1 - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
2 - In a medium saucepan, mix together the apples, sugars and spices. Cook 10-15 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and gooey. Let cool.
3 - Roll out the pie dough. Use a cookie cutter or cup to cut out about 4-inch circles. Spoon apple filling into the center of the dough leaving at least a ¾ inch border. Gently fold the circle over in half and pinch the edges with your fingers or seal using a fork. Pierce the top of the hand pie with the fork or use a knife to create a small slit to allow ventilation.
4 - Brush the tops of the pies with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Yields 14 Pies