I’m probably not the only person guilty of trying to eat a slice of regular pie by picking it up after slicing it and holding it like a slice of pizza rather than getting a plate. If you have tried this a time or two, you also know that it isn’t the neatest way to eat a piece of pie even if it does leave you with fewer dishes to wash. A better option is to simply make hand pies if you want to avoid doing the dishes. Hand pies are small pies that are supposed to be picked up easily and eaten right out of your hand – no plates necessary. The pies are small and perfect for a single serving. They can also be packed up easily as a snack.
These Apple Butter Hand Pies are perfect for apple pie lovers. They have a sweet apple filling and a great filling-to-crust ratio. They also take a lot less time to put together than a full sized apple pie, so you get to satisfy a pie craving a whole lot faster with a batch of these. My filling is made with finely chopped apple, apple butter, brown sugar and spices. Large pieces of apple don’t fit easily inside of a hand pie, and they can simply take too long to cook, so I find that dicing the apple in small pieces gives me a good texture but allows the apples to cook completely in the oven. I add apple butter to my filling because it has an intense apple flavor and gives the filling a great consistency. A little sugar and a little spice round things out. Apple butter is an amazing fruit preserve that you can find at many grocery stores, and you can also make it yourself with some fresh apples.
The trick to a good hand pie is to put the right amount of filling inside. A filling that is too runny will ooze out, and overloading the pie will cause the same problem. You need to place your filling in the center of the pie and leave enough room to seal the crust up before baking. A good rule of thumb is to leave about a 1/4 inch, or a little more, around the filling so you have room to make a good seal. To seal the pies, simply dab the bottom crust with a little bit of water before folding over the top crust. Press the edges firmly with a fork to keep them tightly together.
The number of pies that you get will depend on how big you make your pies. Making 4-inch rounds out dough and folding them in half to form my pies, I will get about 8 pies out of one piece of pie dough. If I roll the dough into a large square and cut 4 x 2.5-in rectangular pieces (rectangles are sandwiched, not folded over), I can get the same number of rectangular pies. You don’t want to try to re-roll the dough if you can avoid it, so try to get the most pies out of one rolling.
Apple Butter Hand Pies
dough for one 9-inch pie crust (recipe below)
1 medium apple
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or apple pie spice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp milk, for topping
1-2 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Peel and finely dice the apple. You should have a generous 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of diced apple.
Place diced apple in a small bowl. Add in apple butter, salt, ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir to combined.
Roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 4-inch round cutter to cut dough into 8 rounds. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place 1-2 tbsp of filling onto half of each round, leaving 1/4-inch of dough around the outside edge. Brush edge of dough with a little water, then fold over the extra dough to cover the filling. Use a fork to seal the edge of the pie.
Refrigerate pies for 25 minutes.
Brush pies with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
All Butter Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
5-7 tbsp ice water
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips, pressing it into the flour mixture and breaking it up, until mixture resemble very coarse sand and no pieces larger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, stir in ice water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Press dough into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 60 minutes before using.