As American as Apple Hand Pies!

As American as Apple Hand Pies!

Hand Pies are the way to happiness on a winter Sunday morning!

Oftentimes, on Sunday mornings, what I really want to do is bake for my family.  I usually wake up earlier than everyone else and have a bit of time on my hands.  I also always have flour and butter in my kitchen – the upside of being a baker!  So, what I do is sit with my coffee and play around with google to find something that isn’t too time intensive and can make something yummy in a relatively short amount of time before folks wake up.  (unlike something like the Baumkuchen recipe I have, which is tremendously tasty, but NOT quick)

Shiny Ball Creations | Apple Hand Pie breakfast on a plate with a mug and child in the background

I had extra HoneyCrisp apples around (wonderful sale recently!) and I wanted to do something with fruit.  My first searches for something quick with apples centered around puff pastry.  I didn’t have any the in the freezer and I didn’t have the time (or patience) to put together anything like that.  Further searches turned up recipies for hand pies.  I thought that a pie crust would be a much easier and quicker way to get to the baked goods I wanted.

I’m not necessarily one to use other recipes verbatim, but more for inspiration.  This time I adapted a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, using my preferred technique of mixing pie dough, and adding toasty walnuts and cardamom.

Shiny Ball Creations|Apple Hand Pies with a flaky crust and apple pie filling, hand pies

The recipe below speaks for itself, but I wanted to provide a couple of extra tips that make things easier, especially when working with pie dough.

  1. Always keep at least some of your shortening in the fridge!  This might seem weird, but that way you are ALWAYS prepared to do something pastry related,and you won’t have to lose time in chilling it.  I like to buy the crisco shortening sticks and keep at least one or two in the back, out of the way.
  2. For pie crust, don’t turn your nose up at the shortening – combining it with butter gives you a wonderful crispy texture along with the flakiness.
  3. Don’t work that dough too much!  It will get tough (and you’ll be sad)

Shiny Ball Creations |Flaky Pie Crust closeup

As for the apple filling – so many recipes I have found (almost all, really) call for Granny Smith Apples.  I say – do with what you have.  I had Honeycrisp – they worked great!  Perhaps they wouldn’t be the best for a full on apple pie, but for this purpose, they worked great.  I bet Ginger Gold or any other firmer apple would do great here too.  Don’t be afraid to try something.  Also, mix up the seasonings!  Add nutmeg if you like…or ginger… or vanilla!   Forget the apples and use berries or even chocolate (YUM!!!)  Use this recipe as a springboard to other amazingness.

Save this recipe for next time! Yum

Shiny Ball Creations|Apple Hand Pies with a flaky crust and apple pie filling, hand pies

Apple Hand Pies

Delicious and easy, flaky apple hand pies - perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch or breakfast or as a rustic, sweet dessert
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, breakfast, brunch
Servings 6 or more (depending on size of pie)



  • 320 grams All Purpose Flour about 2 1/2 cups
  • 90 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces about 7 T
  • 150 grams vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into pieces about 3/4 cups
  • 1 cup Water, with ice cubes in it you'll need about 1/2 c or more
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Apple Filling

  • 3 each Honeycrisp Apples peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon add more or less depending your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • 1 dash allspice
  • 1 dash mace
  • 1 dash kosher salt more or less to taste
  • 1/2 c toasted walnuts, chopped optional

For finishing

  • 1 each egg, beaten with a dash of water
  • sanding sugar optional



  • Place flour, salt and fats into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the fats into the flour until the smallest pieces are no more than pea size. A few larger pieces of butter or shortening are ok. Pour in 1/2 c. of the ice water, and using a rubber spatula, fold the water into the dry ingredients and press down as you do it. Imagine you are trying to fold the flour and water together like paper, and smash it together with the flat of the spatula. Add more water if the dough isn't coming together. Continue folding and smashing (gently) until the dough is no longer floury and crumbly, and comes together almost like a ball. Divide into two balls, and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten into discs and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes while you make the apple filling.

Apple Filling

  • If using, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet, stirring frequently until lightly toasted and set aside. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir. Once the butter is melted, dump the apples into the hot skillet and cook until the moisture is evaporated from the apples and they are soft. The sugar and butter should create a syrupy coating around the apples. Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts.


  • Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out on a lightly floured board until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut shapes (circles, hearts, whatever) from the dough and put back into the freezer or fridge to stay chilled while you roll out the rest of the dough. You can reuse the scraps by squeezing them back togther and rolling them out. If the dough is getting too soft, put it back in the freezer to chill down. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place cut out shapes, evenly spaced. Scoop some apple filling (not too much) onto each piece of dough. You should have about 1/4 inch all the way around to allow you to cover with another piece of dough. Using your finger, dab egg wash around the edges and place another round of dough on top, pressing lightly around the sides to seal. Follow that with a fork to crimp the sides for extra sealing. Repeat for each pie. Brush each pie with the egg wash, sprinkle with sanding sugar and put back in the fridge for about 10 minutes Bake in a 375 (or 350 convection) oven for 25 to 28 minutes, checking frequently after 22 minutes to make sure they don't burn. Don't waste scraps - put them on the baking sheet and bake them up for a yummy treat Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating and enjoying with cup of tea!

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