There is only one thing better than Apple Pie, Apple Hand Pies! Easier to make than full size Apple pie and no need to share! Looking for the best Apply Pie recipe that is flaky, creamy and super easy to make? This is it! I love everything about my Apple Hand Pie recipe; the filling to crust ratio, how easy and quick to make them, the creaminess of the filling and the flakiness of the pie dough, the way how the buttery crust bonds with spiced apple filling, I am in love!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Most amazing buttery crust – I have tons of Pro tips for you in this recipe about how to achieve the best ever crispy yet soft Pie crust texture. Nothing beats homemade apple hand pies!
- Perfect texture – This Apple Hand Pie has the most perfect texture that is crispy yet juicy without being soggy. It has the perfect crust-to-filling ratio that makes the pies perfectly balanced.
- Crazy delicious – Buttery pie crust loaded with sweet, fresh apples make this hand pie totally irresistible! These are the ultimate super flaky apple hand pies!
- Quick & easy to make – This is a really simple pie, much easier than making full-sized pies. Even if you are a beginner in the kitchen, you can comfortably try this recipe
📝 Ingredient notes
For the flaky pie crust
- Flour: I am using Cotswold Premium Plain flour for this Apple Hand pies recipe that I can warmly recommend, if it is not available in your country, use AP flour with medium protein content.
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Sugar: I am using a tiny bit of granulated sugar in the pie dough but it is not necessary. In general, pie crust should not be sweet, it is the filling that brings the sweetness.
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception and you have to take it very seriously. The butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it. Working with cold butter is absolutely key to reaching the right consistency of your pie dough
- Egg: This pie crust does not contain eggs, good news if you are looking for an eggless pie recipe. If the egg does not concern you, you can use egg yolk with a tiny amount of cream for egg washing the top of the hand pies. Please see details later
- Water: Water needs to be chilled similarly to butter. If you are using the flour I do (Cotswold Premium Plain flour), you will need exactly 80 g of water however if you are using a different flour, you might need to adjust the quantity paying attention to the right consistency that I will explain later in more details
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the Apple pie filling
- Apple: Almost any apple can work that is available in your country, peel apples and cut them into small pieces, ideally into small identical sizes so they cook well
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice and its acidity is balancing the flavors, you will need freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- Sugar: Using a mix of granulated and brown sugar, feel free to use your preference
- Butter: Butter makes the filling smooth and creamy, definitely use unsalted
- Corn starch: Corn starch helps the filling to thicken and that is key to avoiding soggy pies. I suggest you do not leave this out
- Spice: You are absolutely free to use your favorite spices eg. cinnamon sugar, cardamon, vanilla bean, or pumpkin spice. I decided to go with ginger and it works perfectly with apple, give it a go!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to achieve the best flaky pie crust
If you ever mistakenly baked dense, hard pie crust you know what I am talking about… Pie crust should be flaky, almost like puff pastry but without the hassle of spending 3 days with lamination. How to achieve flaky pie crust without lamination? In fact, it is super easy if you follow 3 simple rules.
- Make sure all ingredients of the pie dough are very cold at all times, even your kitchen temperature should be relatively cold ( below 20C / 68F). If at any point the dough gets too warm or butter starts to melt, pop it back in the freezer for a minute or two. Avoid using extra flour, instead, make sure ingredients are nice and cold
- Do not use a mixer, do not overwork or knead the pie dough, in fact, butter chunks staying in the dough encourage the pie to achieve a lovely flaky texture
- Avoid soggy bottom at all cost as obviously soggy pie crust can’t be flaky. On that note, see further tips below
So here is my flaky Pie crust recipe step-by-step:
- In a large bowl whisk dry ingredients; flour, sugar, and salt until fully combined
- Cut butter into small chunks and place it into the freezer along with the flour mixture, and water for 10-15 minutes
- Once all ingredients are nicely chilled, add very cold butter chunks into flour and rub the flour mixture between your fingers until it becomes a sand-like consistency. Leave some bigger butter chunks in the mixture, no need to fully incorporate the butter into the flour
- Add very cold water into the dough, a small amount at a time, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon after each addition
- Start working the dough with your hands. First, it will look crumbly but it should come together in the next minute or so. Remember, leave in some butter chunks, do not overwork the dough, and do not use a mixer
- Form 2 disks (one for the top, and for the bottom of the crust), cover with plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours
💡 Top Tip: Resting the pie dough in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours is mandatory, otherwise, believe me, you won´t be able to work with the dough and it is effectively impossible to roll it out
2. How to make Apple pie filling
Making the filling for this Apple Hand pie could not be easier, it literally comes together in less than 10 minutes and you can flavour it with tons of different spices eg. cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, vanilla bean etc!
- Peel and cut apples into small pieces
- In a saucepan mix apple pieces with the rest of the ingredients and cook the mixture over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until the apple filling is slightly cooked and some water evaporates from the mixture and the filling thickens.
- Cool filling to room temperature before using. Due to the added corn starch the filling should be thick, not runny, this will ensure moist but not watery outcome when hand pies are baked.
💡 Top Tip: Make sure you do over cook the mixture, the cooking time varies depending on the type of apple you use, check the consistency regularly
3. How to assemble
I recommend to make the Pie dough first and let it rest in the fridge for minimum 2 hours. It is incredible difficult to roll out a Pie dough that is not chilled, please make your life easier by not skipping this step.
Prepare the apple pie filling next as that also needs to cool to room temp before using it.
After 2 hours chilling time, take the pie dough disk out of the fridge and let it rest few minutes on the kitchen counter. The dough should stay cold but slightly warmed up to be able to roll it out without breaking it. Key thing is that you need to keep the pie dough cold enough to be able to work with it. Remember, if pie dough becomes sticky and butter starts to melt while rolling, you have to control the temperature of the pie dough by chilling it quickly in the fridge or freezer instead of adding more flour!
Transfer the disk to very lightly floured surface, even better if using Silicone baking mat that prevents the dough from sticking. Start rolling the dough from the center to the side, make sure you turn the dough with your hands after each rolling so it will become even. No need to add flour while rolling, the pie dough should be cold enough not to stick to the kitchen counter.
Roll the dough until it reaches 3 mm in thickness, however, do not worry about reaching 3 mm exactly, it is more important that the thickness is even. Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles, I suggest to use a size of 8-10 cm (3-4 inch) for hand pies. Anything bigger can be too large for individual pie size, anything smaller won´t give you enough filling. After cutting the circles out, the leftover dough can be used and rolled out again however might need to chill it first for 10-15 minutes.
Refrigerate the cut out circles for 10-15 minutes before filling. After chilling time, place half of the circles on parchment paper or even better if using Perforated "air" baking mat for even baking - these will be the bottom of the hand pies. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the remaining circles - these will be the top pies. The slit is not just a design element, but helps the steam to escape as the hand pies bake.
Place about 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each bottom crust then place the top crust over the filling. It is worth to very lightly stretch the top crust so it will perfectly fit on top of the filling. Make sure that you do not overfill the pies, the top of the crust should be able to placed on top easily. Press your fingers all around the edges to properly seal, then crimp with a fork. Apply egg wash on top.
💡 Top Tip: It is super important that during the assembling process you won´t let the dough warm up. Work as quickly as possible. If at any point pie dough gets warm, place it into the freezer for a minute or two to chill.
4. How to bake these lovely Apple Hand pies
Once you are done with filling and shaping the hand pies, you might be tempted to finally bake them, but instead place them into the freezer for 15 minutes while pre-heating your oven to 190C / 374F.
After 15 minutes take them out of the freezer and bake them in 190C / 374F (no fan) for about 30 minutes.
How do I know that the pies are baked? Always check the bottom of these Apple Hand Pies! If it does not look wet and has a nice golden color, very likely your pies are done! In case the top was browning too much, cover with aluminum foil until the bottom properly bakes.
Let Hand pies slightly cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes then move them onto a cooling rack.
💡 Top Tip: Do not skip the freezing. It helps to hold their shape while baking.
🎓 Expert tips
- Use high-quality 82% fat content European-style very cold unsalted butter to make the pie dough
- Roll the pie dough (or any other sticky dough) in between two Silicone baking mats so it won´t stick. Otherwise, roll the dough on lightly floured work surface
- While assembling and kneading the dough, work as quickly as possible without 1. overworking the dough 2. making the dough too warm. Kneading literally should not take more than a minute or two. Do not use a food processor or mixer
- The temperature while working with this dough is super important. Too warm? The pastry dough will tear. Too cold? The pastry dough will break. Aim for the in-between stage, a cold enough dough that is comfortable to work with. Use your fridge or freezer to chill the dough if it gets too warm
- I strongly advise using a Digital scale to be able to measure your ingredients correctly, and a Digital oven thermometer to be able to measure your exact oven temperature
Yes of course you can, this recipe works no matter what size or shape of pies you want to bake, however, you will need to adjust the ingredients and baking time accordingly
You can, but why would you? The pie crust comes together in less than 5 minutes using a handful of super simple ingredients like flour, butter, and water!
Yes, most probably you can make gluten free hand pies, however, you can´t just replace flour with gluten-free flour 1:1 without reformulating the recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor
Leftover apple pie – if there is any – should be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
You can easily freeze this dessert and enjoy it even weeks later
🥧 More Pie recipes
Easy Apple Hand Pies
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with Pie dough
- In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt until fully combined and cut butter into small cubes
- Pop butter cubes, flour mixture and water into the freezer for 10-15 minutes
- Once all ingredients are nicely chilled, add very cold butter cubes into flour and rub the mixture between your fingers until it becomes a sand like consistency. Leave some bigger butter chunks in the mixture, no need to fully incorporate butter into flour
- Add very cold water into the dough, a small amount at a time and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon after each addition
- Start working the dough with your hands. First it will look crumby but it should come together in the next minute or so. Remember, leave in some butter chunks, do not overwork the dough, do not use a mixer
Continue with making the Apple Pie filling
- Peel and cut apples into small pieces. In a saucepan mix all ingredients and cook on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Let is come to room temp before using it
Assembling and Baking
- After 2 hours, take the pie dough disk out of the fridge and let it rest few minutes on the kitchen counter. The dough should stay cold but slightly warmed up to be able to roll it out without breaking it
- Transfer the disk to lightly floured surface or Silicone baking mat and start rolling it out. Make sure you turn the dough with your hands after each rolling so it will become even. No need to add too much flour while rolling, the pie dough should be cold enough not to stick to the kitchen counter. If at any point the dough gets too warm, pop it back to the freezer for a minute and continue
- Roll the dough into 3mm thickness. Remember, do not force the dough, after rolling, it should stay smooth and cold, easy to work with
- With the help of a cookie cutter (size 3-4inches, 8-10cm) cut out circles then place the pie dough circles into the fridge for 15 minutes
- Prepare the top crust: using a sharp knife cut slits into the remaining circles
- Place about 1-2 tablespoon of filling in the center of each bottom crust then place the top crust over the filling. Press your finger around the edges to properly seal them then crimp with a fork. Apply egg wash on top
- Place unbaked hand pies to the freezer for 15 minutes while pre-heating oven to 190C / 374F
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and bottom is evenly baked
- Let hand pies slightly cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes then move them onto a cooling rack