These apple hand pies have a delicate crust seasoned with fresh rosemary and thyme. They’re a fragrant treat that will make your kitchen smell amazing! This apple hand pie recipe is a perfectly portioned dessert!
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?
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.
Apple Hand Pies with Rosemary Thyme Crust
For The Dough
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup cold water
For The Filling
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sweet or tart apples (1 - 2 medium), peeled, cored and chopped (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more as needed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
For The Topping
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Prepare the dough:
- 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 film, pressing flat into a disk, and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 60 minutes.
Prepare the filling:
- 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.
Assemble the pies:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough as thin as possible, turning the dough after every roll to help prevent sticking. Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut approximately 24 rounds (it's fine if you have more or less, but shoot for an even number). Before re-rolling any scraps, the dough might need to rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the butter can firm back up.
- 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 2 tablespoons of 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. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Brush egg wash liberally on top of each hand pie and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Use a knife to vent 3 small holes on top.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or 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.
I've made this recipe using both sweet and tart apples. Use what you have. If you use tart apples, you may want to decrease the amount of lemon juice to 1 teaspoon. Taste, and add the second teaspoon if the filling still needs some brightness.
The dough can be prepared up to 72 hours in advance.
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