Apple Hand Pies

After a friend shared a delicious-sounding recipe for dumplings, I decided to buy a dough press set. Since we have very little storage place in our kitchen, my tools supply is low. I try to avoid buying things like dough presses that won’t get much use, but my craving for hand pies and dumplings overtook me.  I’ll try to use it quite a bit before it makes a home in the garage; right now it is sitting annoyingly on my kitchen counter (taking up about a quarter of my work space!).


I really wanted to make my great aunt B.I.’s famous hand pies but don’t have her recipes, so settled with trying something of my own with apples I had on hand.


They ended up pretty good. I’m still going to search for a better recipe! Next time I will probably make them larger to improve the filling-to-pastry ratio; I think that will be nearly perfect. The inside is really delicious, and if I have a craving for apple pie I’ll likely go ahead and make these again.  Baked goods always taste better in miniature–especially if they eliminate having to wash dishes after each use!

I made two different rounds of hand pies. The fist time, I used one of Smitten Kitchen’s pastry suggestion but found it difficult to work with and not worth the wait. I was disappointed with how ugly that batch of pies came out and quickly threw together another round using a quick pie crust.

Apple filling
3 or 4 baking apples (Granny Smiths are a good choice)
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs flour
½ tsp cinnamon (heaping)
dash of nutmeg

Peel and chop apples into small pieces. Coat with dry ingredients and let sit in refrigerator until the pastry is prepared.

Pastry for Double-Crust Pie from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
2 ½ cups AP flour
¾ tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
8 to 10 Tbs cold water

1 egg yolk beaten with 2 Tbs water
Sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are pea size (I always use my hands for this).

Sprinkle 1 Tbs of the water over part of the flour mixture; toss iwth a fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 Tbs of the water at a time, until flour mixture is moistened. Divide pastry in half; form halves into balls.

On lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten one pastry ball. Roll it from center to edges. Cut circles the size you desire, using a dough set as your guide. If you are not using a dough press, cut the circles with a large cookie or biscuit cutter.

Lightly flour surface of dough press, then place a generous amount of apple filling into the center of the circles. With a bit of cold water, wet the circumference of the dough and press edges together, forming a semi-circle. If not using a dough press, make a decorative edge by pressing the dough together with a fork.

Brush pies with egg yolk mixture and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, or about 20 minutes.


Smitten Kitchen has a photographic guide for those not using a dough press.


Next up: hand pies of varying fruits (I’m dreaming of blackberries once the price drops a bit) and Kara’s dumplings

9 comments


  • pietra

    Looks like I need a dough press!

    March 21, 2010
  • You pastry looks good! I made something similar recently but with puff pastry. Good for you for making your own! So much better than me then. Hehe. I’m writing this down. Thaaaank you. :)

    March 21, 2010
  • Thanks for the link, miss! And I’m trying these ASAP.

    March 21, 2010
  • I’ve tried SK’s pie crust recipe, too, and I wasn’t pleased with how it looked, but the taste was nice. I like how the pie crust you settled with looks, though. What a great press!! It is cute!

    March 21, 2010
  • I first went on your blog to look at apple pies (looks fantastic, by the way), but I have discovered that the rest of your blog is fantastic as well ;D

    March 21, 2010
  • Cat

    Those pies look amazing!

    March 21, 2010
  • Amelie

    Just as a note, these were also great deep-fried…

    April 18, 2010
    • Alyssa

      I’m so glad to hear it! The reason I was slightly disappointed in this recipe is because the hand pies I ate as a kid were actually fried! I’ve been meaning to make them but haven’t gotten the recipe from my grandmother yet.

      April 19, 2010
  • Kay

    I love these dough presses. I’ve ordered a set of 5 different sizes. That way I cam make pies, ravioli , hot pockets , my imagination just runs away with its self when I think of allthe goodies I can make and I’ll probably freezer some too, for fruit pies ect for winter. I think I’m gonna have a blast when I get them,I love the way your little pies look.makes me hungry for one now,lol

    May 3, 2011

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