I think hand pies are a great recipe for novice bakers who feel intimidated by homemade dough. It’s an opportunity to get a feel for working with the dough while treating it a bit more like a large cookie. A large cookie with tasty pie filling. Plus, who doesn’t love a good single serving dessert?
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year to work with Bob’s Red Mill. Their baking supplies are top notch. For this recipe I used their all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and coarse turbinado sugar. To mix things up a bit, I added some fresh rosemary and thyme to the dough. You can omit these if you’d prefer a more classic apple pie.
As I said, hand pies are great for beginners. However, here are some general tips for working with pie dough:
- Dough is all about butter temperature. If the butter is too warm, the dough will become sticky and difficult to manage. If it’s too cold, the dough might crack when you try to roll it out. You want it to be chilled, but I typically let dough rest for 3-5 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator.
- If at any time the dough becomes too soft and sticky, simply place it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes (or longer, if necessary).
- Homemade pie does not need to look perfect. Rustic food is comfort food.
- 12 ounces (2½ cups) all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 8 ounces (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- ⅓ cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sweet apples (1 - 2 medium), peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon coarse turbinado sugar (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- Place the flour, sugar, salt, rosemary and thyme in a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal (a few larger pieces of butter are fine). With the machine running, add the water and mix until the dough just begins to come together. Do not overmix.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the apples, coating evenly with the dry ingredients. Stir in the lemon juice and butter.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough thin, to at least ¼ inch thickness (see notes). Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut approximately 16 rounds. Before rerolling any scraps (if necessary), allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- To prepare the egg wash, in a small bowl, briefly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt.
- Brush the outer rim of one of the dough rounds with a light coating of egg wash (I find this easiest to do with a clean finger). Place approximately 1 to 1½ tablespoons of pie filling in the center of the dough and immediately cover with a second round. Use a fork to press the edges of the dough together all the way around. Brush egg wash liberally on top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Use a knife to vent 3 small holes on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, until the pies are golden brown on top. Allow to cool briefly before serving.
The hand pie yield will depend on how thinly the dough is rolled. Less hand pies might result in leftover filling, which is delicious when cooked briefly in a small saucepan and served by itself or over cake or ice cream.
The dough can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance.
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Savory Simple!