Apple recipes feel like the beginning of the fall season. It is like the pre game of pumpkin fall recipes. From apple cakes to apple doughnuts, I want all the apple desserts come August!
What I love so much about these little apple hand pies is how stinking easy they are to make! Have friends coming over in an hour? Hosting a fall movie night later? Don't have anything to bring to Thanksgiving? No problemo, this recipe comes together in under an hour!
What makes these hand pies so quick and easy to make? Puff pastry sheets! I love to keep puff pastry dough in my freezer around the holidays. It makes for a flaky crust without all of the hard work of making it homemade.
- Apples: This recipe calls for 4-6 apples (440 grams). The best baking apples are honeycrisp or granny smith apples. This is because they don't become mushy when baked. I like to use organic fresh apples when possible, to avoid the shellac coating that is found on non-organic apples.
- Sugar: You will need ⅔ cup of white granulated sugar for the apple mixture.
- Citric Acid: I use Lemi Shine's 100% food grade citric acid in this recipe as a lemon juice substitute. Citric acid packs a citrus flavor without adding additional liquid to the apple filling mixture. This recipe calls for only ½ teaspoon of citric acid. To learn more about citric acid, check out this page. To purchase this kitchen staple for your home, check it out on amazon.
- Cinnamon: Can't have apple pie with delicious cinnamon apples can we? I love cinnamon, so I add a full teaspoon to the filling.
- Nutmeg: ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg is added into the spiced apple filling to add a bit of nuttiness.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a thickening agent added to the filling to make it a little less runny. We want the mixture to be super juicy but without cornstarch, it would completely run out of our dough.
- Puff Pastry: In this recipe I use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. It is very accessible to get and most likely at your local grocery store in the frozen section. You will need 2 sheets for this recipes, which is one pack. Make sure it is completely thawed before handling.
- Egg: 1 egg yolk is needed for this recipe as egg wash. This gives the tops of each hand pie that golden brown color, as well as seals the dough between layers.
- Demerara sugar: This is optional but a heavy sprinkling of this chunky sugar on top adds so much texture and a little bit of added sweetness.
variations & substitutions
If you can't find puff pastry dough, phyllo dough can be substituted. However since phyllo dough is not a laminated dough, the hand pies will be less rich & buttery.
For a more robust filling flavor, try substituting the white sugar in the filling with brown sugar. This gives it more of a molasses taste.
tips & tricks
Make sure your apples are sliced into thin small pieces. Use a sharp knife to cut about ¼ inch slices. If your slices are too thick, they will not fully bake through.
Flour the rolling pin and your work surface when rolling out the pastry dough. Just a little flour goes a long way here to prevent the sheet of puff pastry from sticking to any surfaces.
Be sure to add enough filling to each apple hand pie. When it looks like there is enough apples on there, just add a few more! Don't be scared to add a heaping pile! It condenses a lot in the oven and we want to be sure to have juicy apple pie pockets.
step by step instructions
1. Let's prep. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Peel & slice your apples. Ensure your apples are completely peeled. You don't want any tough bites of apple skin in your pie! Then cut the apples into even equal pieces, about ¼ inch each slice.
3. Mix your apple filling. In a large bowl, place your sliced apples. On top of your apples, sprinkle the sugar, citric acid, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Toss until every apple is evenly coated. Then set aside.
4. Now let's prepare the pie dough. Make sure your puff pastry is completely thawed or else the dough will crack and break. On a floured work surface using a floured rolling pin, gently roll out one sheet of the dough so all seems are mended. Once the dough is even and seamless, cut into thirds horizontally.
5. Fill the mini apple pies. On one half of each cut dough piece, place a heaping spoonful of the apple mixture. Along the border edges of the pastry dough, brush with the egg wash. Then carefully fold the side of the dough without apples, over the apple side. Using a fork, crimp the border of the square hand pie to seal the bottom and top dough together. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for the remaining sheet of puff pastry. Place all the prepared hand pies on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
6. Time for final touches. Brush the top of apple hand pies with egg wash. Cut three thin slices on top to allow the steam to escape when baking. Generously sprinkle with Demerara sugar for that extra crunchy sugary goodness.
7. Bake em! Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Sprinkle some additional cinnamon sugar on top or add some vanilla ice cream! If you're feeling extra saucy, try this salted caramel sauce to drizzle on top!
storage & reheating
Let the hand pies sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container. Then place airtight container in refrigerator. Baked hand pies will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
These mini apple hand pies can be reheated in the oven or air fryer. Reheat in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 400F. Reheat in the air fryer by wrapping the pie in aluminum foil and then air frying at 350F for about 5 minutes.
What apples should not be used for an apple pie recipe?
- You should never use red delicious apples or gala when making apple pie. These apples can not withstand cooking temperatures and become mushy when baked. The best apples for apple pie are granny smith apples or honeycrisp.
How do I keep my hand pie from leaking?
- Egg wash in between the top and bottom layer of dough, along with the crimping of the borders, will help the filling from leaking.
Can hand pies be made ahead of time?
- Hand pies are always best when served immediately after baking. After all, the best part of these delicious treats are the warm spiced apples! So if you are going to make these ahead of time, just prepare the filling ahead of time but still prepare and bake the same day you plan on serving. The filling can be mixed and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.
It warms me up to see you make my recipes! Tag me on instagram @essenceeats so I can see your remakes ♡
If you made this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, please leave a star rating while you're there ☆