There is only one thing better than Apple Pie and it is Apple Hand Pie! 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!
My recipe for homemade individual Apple Hand Pies has just the perfect size and taste amazing served warm, room temperature, or even cold. Due to the moist filling and the buttery dough, they stay super moist for days, not that they will last that long. The best part of all, you literally have an apple pie just for yourself!
This Apple Hand Pie recipe features a flaky, buttery pie dough that is filled with creamy, incredible delicious apples flavoured with your favourite fall spices. If you feel intimidated by making a full size Pies (although you shouldn't, check my pie crust tutorial in here), let me tell you that this is the perfect recipe for you!
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Apple Hand pie recipe
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all have an impact baking this Homemade Apple Hand pie recipe
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Apple Hand pies
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Apple Hand Pie recipe
For the flaky pie crust
- Flour: I am using Cotswold Premium Plain flour for this Apple Hand pie recipe that I can warmly recommend, if it is not available in your country, use AP flour with medium protein content. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- 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. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- 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. 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 reach the right consistency of your pie dough
- Egg: This pie crust does not contain egg, good news if you are looking for an eggless pie recipe. If 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
For the Apple pie filling
- Apple: Almost any apple can work that is available in your country, peel apples and cut into small pieces, ideally into small identical sizes so they cook well
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice and its acidity is balancing the flavours, 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 avoid soggy pies. I suggest you do not leave this out
- Spice: You are absolutely free to use your favourite spices eg. cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla bean, pumpkin spice (recipe in here). I decided to go with ginger and it works perfectly with apple, give it a go!
My top 4 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making this Apple Hand pie 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 pain 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.
1. Make sure all ingredients of the pie dough are very cold at all time, even your kitchen temperature should be relatively cold (18-20c). If at any point the dough gets too warm or butter starts to melt, pop it back the freezer for a minute or two. Avoid using extra flour, instead make sure ingredients are nice and cold 2. Do not use a mixer, do not over work or knead the pie dough, in fact butter chunks staying in the dough encourage the pie to achieve a lovely flaky texture 3. Avoid soggy bottom at all cost, in other words make sure the filling does not make the pie crust wet, as obviously soggy pie crust can’t be flaky
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, cardamon, 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 apple filling slightly cooked and some water evaporates from the mixture and filling thickens. Make sure you do over cook the mixture, the cooking time varies depending on the type of apple you use. 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.
3. How to assemble the Apple Hand Pies
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. If at any point pie crust gets warm, place it into the freezer for a minute or two but do not force it.
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. Freezing helps to hold their shape while baking.
After 15 minute take them out of the freezer and bake them in 190C / 374F 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 colour, very likely your pies are done! In case top was browning too much, cover with aluminium foil until bottom properly bakes.
Let Hand pies slightly cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes then move them onto a cooling rack.
Some more Pie recipe ides for you to try
Pumpkin Pie recipe – The BEST Pumpkin Pie recipe features a flaky, buttery pie crust that is filled with silky, creamy, incredible delicious pumpkin custard flavoured with aromatic orange zest and nutmeg. It’s rich, smooth, full of fall flavours everyone loves! Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving next week or not, you must try this pumpkin pie recipe before the season is over. Recipe in here
Peach Galette - Making this easy Peach Galette recipe takes literally zero effort with incredible delicious results! Looking for a super quick and pretty summer pie without all the fuss? This Homemade Peach Galette recipe is for you! Flaky and buttery pie crust – that comes together in 3 minutes – loaded with fragrant peaches and baked to perfection! Recipe in here
Pear and walnut galette – This Pear and walnut galette is the perfect easy Fall dessert that combines sweet, crunchy, nutty, fruity in a lovely butter Pie crust. Super quick and easy, no special equipment is needed as shaped with your hands only. Recipe in here
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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
- After chilling time ends, 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
- 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