Fall is in full swing. Our daily walks are crunching through piles of leaves, the temperature keeps swinging between 40s and 60s, and pumpkins are showing up everywhere. So, of course, I’m continuing with autumn recipes!
The inspiration for today’s recipe is simple: I realized that, for all my years of baking, I’ve never actually made a pie crust from scratch. I’ve made pies, but we usually either use a graham cracker crust or a store-bought crust. Somehow, I’ve just always managed to avoid it. Well, no longer.
I took some inspiration from those long autumn walks and decided to make a snack to carry along with us. These little hand pies are a perfect treat for a gentle hike. They’re a savory pie crust enclosing a sweet apple pie filling, similar to (but not quite the same as) the filling from last week’s recipe.
Now, obviously, if you want to shortcut this recipe, you can skip all the pie crust making and just buy a crust from your local store. You might need to recombine and re-roll the scraps to make more shells, but that’s easy enough. But if you do that, all you’re doing is cooking some apples, and where’s the fun in that?
My #1 tip for this recipe is keeping the dough chilled. As it warms up, it gets sticky and tricky to work with, but more importantly, the butter and shortening in it lose their composition, and the dough ends up denser and less tasty. If you need to step away, or do anything with the filling, stick the dough back in the fridge. Trust me on this one.
As for the spice mix, it’s the same pumpkin/apple pie spice mix I use everywhere. Eventually I’ll make a stand-alone post about it, but until then, here it is again:
- 3 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
- 2 Teaspoons of Ground Nutmeg
- 1.5 Teaspoons of Ground Allspice
- 1.5 Teaspoons of Ground Cloves
Mix up all of these and you have a batch that can make plenty of recipes. Simple and easy!
Apple Hand Pies
- Baking Sheet
- Cooling Rack
- Silicone Baking Mat
- Mixing Bowls
- Round Cookie Cutter
- Rolling Pin
- Pastry Cutter
- Plastic Wrap
For the Dough
- 3 Cups Flour
- 7 Tbsp Shortening Cold and Cubed
- 7 Tbsp Butter Cold and Cubed
- ½ Cup Ice Water
- 1 Tsp Pie Spice Mix See post for details
- ½ Tsp Salt
For the Filling
- 3 Medium Apples Diced small
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- t Tsp Pie Spice Mix See post for details
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbsp Milk
Make the Dough
- Combine the flour, salt, and pie spice in a mixing bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter and shortening and mix until it starts to clump together into pea-sized chunks.
- Add in the ice water about 1-2 Tbsp at a time, mixing until the dough starts to come together but isn't sticky. Don't worry if you don't use all of the water.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill them in the fridge fro 30-60 minutes.
Make the Apple Filling
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan or skillet. Add in the sugar, spices, and apples, and stir to coat.
- Cook on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until the apples are starting to soften.
- Set this aside to cool fully. To chill it faster, put it in the fridge or on a tray of cold water.
Assemble the Pies
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Using a rolling pin, on a floured surface, roll one of the dough balls out until it's about ⅛" thick. Keep the other dough in the fridge.
- Cut circles in the dough using your cookie cutter (or a cup or some other round implement.) Put these on a plate or baking sheet and put them in the fridge.
- With the scraps of the dough, roll it back up, roll it out, and cut more circles. Repeat until you're out of dough.
- Put your dough circles in the fridge and repeat the process on the other dough ball, aiming to make an equal number of circles. Why divide it in the first place? This way, more of your dough stays cooler at a time.
- Let your discs chill in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. In the meantime, mix together the egg and milk to make an egg wash.
- Assemble the pies by taking one dough disc and spooning a tablespoon of filling onto the center.
- Brush the egg wash around the outer edge of the dough disc. Then, press a second dough disc over the filling and press/pinch/crimp the edges all the way around to seal it.
- Brush the tops of your pies with egg wash, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Using your knife, cut two slits in the top, so steam can escape.
- Bake for 18 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and the bottoms are no longer moist.
- Let cool for 5 or so minutes, and move to a cooling rack when you can. Eat as-is, or serve with ice cream and enjoy!