Mike requested apple hand pies for this weekend’s treat. I need to continue developing my pastry skills, and this was excellent practice. Because I chose to focus on the pastry, I decided to use canned apple pie filling, but you could absolutely use fresh apple filling if you prefer. Next time, I probably will.
The crust recipe comes from Live Well Bake Often, and it’s probably my favorite I’ve come across so far. I also used some crust-making techniques I learned from this incredibly comprehensive video from King Arthur Flour, and feel like this pastry-making experience was the easiest that I’ve ever had. While the pies look like tiny flying saucers, Mike says they’re absolutely delicious.
- 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour – use the spoon and level method if you’re measuring by volume
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1/2 of a 21-ounce can apple pie filling
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Sanding sugar
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening, tossing with a fork to coat. Use a pastry blender to combine the butter and shortening into the flour mix until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Drizzle in water1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the dough begins to combine; you may not need the full half-cup, but I did.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and use the paper to gather the dough into a rough rectangle shape; fold the dough over on itself a few times to fully incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. The technique in the video around 7:03 is really helpful here. Shape the dough into a rectangle and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop out half the can of pie filling into a medium bowl and chop up the apples into chunks. Add nutmeg and cinnamon to taste; set filling aside while you roll and shape your crust. Reserve the remaining filling for another use; you can heat it up and serve it over ice cream, or just warm it and eat it by itself as a side dish.
Remove crust from fridge and place on a lightly floured surface, rolling into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles of crust; re-roll scraps and repeat. Place half of the circles on the baking sheet and top with about a tablespoon of filling. Punch a steam hole in the remaining circles using a small cutter (I used a frosting piping tip) or knife and place the top crusts over the filling, pinching the edges to join the bottom and top crusts. Gently press the edges with a fork to seal.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and milk to make an egg wash and brush over the pies, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the pies are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Makes 10 pies (my recipe made nine round pies, plus one larger half-circle shaped pie that I made from the last of the scraps).