These buttery little hand pies are filled with almond pastry cream and apple butter. They are flaky, creamy, & packed with warm apple flavor.
Let's start by saying that I got a bit carried away this season making No Peel Slow Cooker Apple Butter. We have kind of a lot of the stuff in our pantry. Although, perhaps not enough now that I've made these little pies.
They are, in my opinion, the perfect little sweet treat because:
- They are not too sweet
- One recipe makes enough to feed a small crowd (or 2 hungry teenagers)
- They include flaky pastry, apple butter, and pastry cream!
- They make a delicious on-the-go hand-held breakfast, lunchbox treat, afternoon snack
- They can be easily dressed up with scoops of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Perfect Pastry Dough for Hand Pies
I recently made this pastry dough for ham and cheese hand pies. It's a very wet dough and contains an entire half cup of sour cream. I was skeptical about adding sour cream to pastry dough when I first started playing around with it. But, I'd read that it can create an exceptionally flaky and easy to work with dough, so I decided to give it a go and I'm glad I did.
When you're making it, you'll think the dough is too wet and be tempted to add more flour. Restrain yourself. Just wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that it's very cold. When rolling it out, make sure to use plenty of flour so that it doesn't stick to everything. It's also important to refrigerate the assembled pies for at least an hour before baking them so that the dough is cold when you put it in the oven.
Follow these simple steps and you'll be rewarded with a delicate pastry, richly flavorful, and so flaky it may remind you of a croissant.
Almond Pastry Cream
The almond pastry cream in this recipe is simply a half batch of my standard, tried-and-true, turns-out-gorgeous-every-time, pastry cream. This lovely confection shows up in recipes all over this website because it's extremely easy to make, keeps for days in the refrigerator (you can even freeze it), is extremely versatile (add flavorings, lighten it with whipped cream), and absolutely delicious.
For these hand pies, I've used both vanilla and almond extract, but feel free to use only one or the other. Paired with the crispy apple slice and spicy apple butter, the pastry cream is a deliciously creamy contrast or flavor.
My favorite slow cooker apple butter recipe requires NO coring and peeling of the apples. The entire process takes about 24 hours - apple butter must simmer at a low heat for a long time - BUT, only about 30 minutes of that is actually hands-on work. The rest of the time you're just letting it do it's thing while you get on with your life.
Having said that, you can also pick up a jar of apple butter at your local market, or order some from Amazon.
One of the greatest things about hand pies is that, obviously, they can be eaten with your hands, no plate and fork required. But, if you really want to step up your game, a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of Salted Caramels Sauce or Caramel Rum Sauce is where it's at.
More Popular Apple Recipes:
- Caramel Apple Pie
- Apple Cake with Cider Buttercream
- Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce
- Apple Cobbler with Gooey Brown Sugar Cookie Crumble
- Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
- Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze
- Saucy Apple Slab Pie
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Streusel
- Slow Cooker Apple Butter
And, for a quick and easy puff pastry version of this recipe, check out these apple hand pies from Gina at Running to the Kitchen.
For the pastry dough:
- ½ cup (113 grams) sour cream (not reduced fat)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup ice water
- 2 ½ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks/ 8 ounces/ 226 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
FOR THE HAND PIES:
- 1 medium size apple
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (340 grams) apple butter, good quality prepared or homemade
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Turbinado sugar, sanding sugar, or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Make a batch of Perfect Vanilla Pastry Cream, and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Make the pastry:
- Add the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and ice water to a measuring cup and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces of butter scattered throughout.
- Pour the sour cream mixture into the bowl, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and gently squeeze together with your hands just until it forms a cohesive dough; do not overwork the dough.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Assemble and bake the hand pies:
- Peel and core the apple and cut it into thin slices no more than ¼ inch thick. Put the apple slices in a bowl and toss with the teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough out to a ⅛-inch thickness on a floured work surface. This is a sticky dough; flour the surface of the dough and the work surface as necessary to keep it from sticking. Using a large 3 & ½ to 4 & ½-inch round pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. (Can also use a wide-rimmed drinking glass.)
- Put about 2 teaspoons of pastry cream in the center of each circle of dough, spreading it out slightly but not getting it too close to the edges of the dough. Top the pastry cream with about 2 teaspoons of apple butter and 1 slice of apple. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape and press the edges together gently with your fingers. Lay the pie on the parchment-covered baking sheet and press the edges together with the tongs of a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining pies and dough, re-rolling the scraps of dough, until you have approximately 18-20 pies.
- Cover the pies loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and teaspoon of milk. Remove the pies from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife to cut three slits in the top crust of each pie. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the pies with the egg mixture. Sprinkle each generously with sugar.
- Bake the pies for 28-32 minutes, turning the sheet around in the oven about halfway through baking, until the crust is golden and you can see the filling bubbling through the slits in the pies.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store leftover pies in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1 pie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g