Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies

October 9, 2012

apple cinnamon hand pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

 "I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
close to my face, and I think you are the real
October with your transparence and the stone
of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them."
                       ~ Bill Berkson, from "October"
October, October...October. Hello, at last.

When it comes to spelling and dialect, I've always been an eclectic smorgasbord of a French father and a New England mom. When I was little I once ran up to my second grade teacher telling her how excited I was about having had my hairs cut the previous day. (I was still trying to grasp the nuances of the English language.) Even now, unless I remember to correct myself, I sneak in an errant 'u' when spelling certain words (a letter my dad always forgot to omit, too). And thanks to my mom, I'm convinced that the word 'idea' should have an 'r' at the end and that 'quarter' should be pronounced as though one is about to squat down upon something.

Happily I also inherited a savage appreciation for all things homemade (from both sides of the idiosyncratic family!).

apple cinnamon hand pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

Growing up I was never allowed to have prepackaged...anything. Although, as I mentioned once already, I once"discovered" my mom's not-so-secret stash of Pepperidge Farm cookies.

I yearned for Little Debbie, Ho Ho's and Hostess hand pies. To help alleviate the latter, my mom made her own hand apple hand pies. They were unbelievably scrumptious! Unfortunately my mom could not find the recipe. So when I wanted to capture a little bit of my childhood, I had to rely on something that I didn't have as a child, the internet. (How on earth did we make it through the 80's and 90's without this thing?)

These little hand pies have a flaky, all-butter crust and a sweet cinnamon-y apple filling. They're rustic, homey and perfect to nibble on whilst imagining what to bake next.

Even though nothing can compare to the taste of a childhood memory, this recipe does step quite close to cosy kitchen aromas, blustery days filled with leaves making a witches circle around the porch and evenings spent trying to learn math(s) from a metric system dad + a numerically-challenged mom. ♥

apple cinnamon hand pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies
makes about 12-16 hand pies

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into bits
1 cup ice water (you probably won't need a full cup, but have it ready just in case)

for the filling
3 McIntosh apples (or Granny Smith)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

for the topping
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Prepare the crust: Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl of a large food processor. {Note: If you have a small processor, divide the ingredients and make half at a time.} Pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bits of cold butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse a few times, just until your left with a crumbly mixture (you should see oatmeal and pea-size pieces of dough). Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the ice water over the dough. Pulse a few times. Add about 1 more Tablespoon of ice water. Pulse again. If the dough has begun to come together on the blade, and if it sticks together when pinched, then it's ready. If it still looks a bit shaggy, add a splash more water and keep adding until it just comes together.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Quickly and gently knead, just to incorporate any stray pieces of dry ingredients. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide it in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Prepare the filling: Peel, core, and chop the apples. {Note: Since the pies are small, try not to keep the apple pieces relatively small.} Place the chopped apples into a medium-size bowl. Add the lemon, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Stir everything together until evenly coated. Cover the bowl as you roll out the dough.

Have the beaten egg on hand, ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a rough circle until it's about 1/8" thick. {Don't worry about the circle being perfect, you're going to be cutting out mini-circles.} Use a 4 1/2-inch biscuit (or cookie cutter ) to cut out as many circles as possible. (Save the scraps.) Place the cut-out circles of dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to moisten the edges of each circle with egg. Add about 1 Tablespoon of the apple filing into the center of the circles (be sure to leave about a 3/4-inch of bare dough around the edges). Fold each circle in half and pinch the edges together to seal. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Cut two small slits into the top of each pie, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Repeat with the remaining disk. {Note: The scraps can be re-rolled.}

Bake for 18-23 minutes or until the pies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.

The hand pies are best enjoyed on the same day that they're made, but well-covered, they will still be good the next day!

Adapted from the faux Martha


  1. Divine and morish looking! Those are marvelous.



  2. They look so adorable!! Surely they are a 100 times better than any store bought apple hand pies :)

  3. I've never made hand pies. I know, crazy! I need to change that and these look totally do-able, fast, and oh, so adorable!

  4. Being Canadian, I sneak all kinds of extra 'u's into my words. If you ever see me blogging about my favourite colour, you'll know why.

    I spent most of my youth longing for Oreos, only to realize they're not nearly as good as anything my mom or grandmother baked. Oh, the appeal of the forbidden!

  5. These pies are too cute! I love your apple-cinnamon filling :).

  6. What a fun read about your childhood memories…loved it! …and these hand pies are wonderful! They look delicious!!!

  7. Love everything with apples and your hand pies look delicious. They're reminding me of "Chausson aux Pommes" I've been eating back home in Morocco. Thanks for sharing.

  8. These hand pies look fantastic - one of my favorite part about fall!

  9. These look so much better than those store bought ones (which I am not sure I have ever actually tried). Love the flavor combination - sounds so good for fall!

  10. Hand over those hand pies! I want some of them now, please! Stat! :)

    It's nice to learn more about the baker behind some of the most wonderful recipes / photography I've seen. Thanks for sharing a part of your childhood to us. It makes a post really special.

  11. Hand pies are one of my all time favorite treats! I was the kid you wished you could be, we ate it all out of a box or package :). My mom was not a cooker or baker hence the reason I was intrigued by the whole thing. I had ideas of my mom being the June Cleaver type lol, which never would have happened. These little apple pies look delectable, I've been dreaming of hand pies lately so these are a must try!

  12. These look delicious and I love the story to go with it. I've never had a hand pie, but your photos make me want one (like right now).


  13. These look amazing and I'm pretty sure they would be a million times better than the packaged pies.

  14. Thanks goodness you weren't allowed packaged goods or we might not be seeing the benefits today! Gorgeous little pies, Valerie!

  15. I was allowed to have pre-packaged goods growing up but boy, would I have loved these instead. These look perfect and I love baked apple treats.

  16. Hand pies are seriously the best. I love the convenient packaging similar to a cupcake. I have been playing with recipes in my mind for these for a while. Thanks for sharing.

  17. These hand pies are just so sweet;-)
    I would have loved one of these in my lunch box!

  18. Yours are absolutely beautiful! So glad I found your blog. xo

  19. I love hand pies and yours look simply divine! Lovely photos! I bet your house smelled soooooo great!

  20. These little pies look very delicious! Great photos, too.

  21. These are totally gorgeous, Valerie!

  22. oh my! I thought I'm the only one that eats something freshly bakes and starts thinking what to bake next!
    I've been living in US for few years now and although my English has improved (mostly in writing) there are times when i use my hands to express my needs :)
    Wonderful hand pies Valerie

  23. These look so delicious! I'm sure they smell as good as they taste, too!!! The filling sounds to-die-for! I must try these : )
    I also loved reading about your childhood memories. Trust me, these are way better than store bought! You were lucky your mom did everything homemade ~

    Danielle xo

  24. Just beautiful, Valerie! I also grew up with no packaged foods...and when I turned 16 and could drive, I filled myself on that junk for about one month before I realized my parents were right all along. These little hand pies look delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  25. i was also not allowed the pre-packaged treats, for good reason, but for a child, i couldn't fathom why.

    these are adorable and such a better alternative to the store-bought stuff!

  26. I baked these last night and they are fantastic!! I halved the recipe, but shouldn't have- they were all eaten in one evening. Thank you for the recipe!

  27. @Heather Mitchell, Thanks for letting me know! I'm so glad you liked them! (They do disappear quickly.) :D

  28. I made these yesterday, and believe me I have made a lot of apple pies in my life and these were the best. The crust had an amazing buttery flavor and it complimented the apples very nicely. Thanks for putting up such a great recipe, and your pictures are lovely too. I also made some extra and threw them in the freezer for thanksgiving day breakfast, how lovely would it be to wake up to this smell in the morning!

  29. @Zahra, I'm so happy to hear that! (I think this crust recipe is a definite keeper!) Great idea to store some in the freezer. :)

  30. Awesome post and these look absolutely delicious. Having a mom who made these outranks any storebought anything!

  31. I would have never known that you aren't completely comfortable with English.

    These look amazing, I'm a fan of single sized, carryable desserts. Bookmarked to try, especially after reading the bit about the smells :)

  32. Do you think i could bake these and freeze them ?

  33. @Duby: I have never tried freezing a pies or hand pies once they have been baked - but I think it's worth a try...Be sure they're well-covered (airtight) and maybe place them in the refrigerator the night before serving.

    Sorry I can't give a better opinion on this - I'd love to hear if it worked though. :)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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