Mmmm fall. Nothing better than apple hand pies when the weather takes a turn to the cooler side. Hand pies are perfect for breakfasts, snacks and desserts too. And they’re great to add to lunch boxes or the early fall picnic basket (with a thermos of warm apple cider too!). Last weekend I got a small box of McIntosh apples from Earth First First Farms at our farmers market and turned them into apple hand pies with my new pie press. The first couple came out looking a little less than pretty since I over-filled them, but the last two were perfect. And they all tasted delicious. So delicious I neglected to take any photos. But perhaps tomorrow I’ll have a photo to share, since there will be more McIntosh’s to be had. You can be certain some will be coming home with me again.
Making apple hand pies is super easy. You don’t need to have a press, but it makes the job a bit cleaner and easier. If you don’t, you can just cut your pie crust into squares or circles (you can get four pies from a standard 2 crust recipe), put a generous tablespoon of filling in the center, fold it over onto itself and crimp the edges closed with a fork. It’s as easy as that. I’ll let you decide which pie crust recipe to use (since everyone has their own favorite), but I’ll share with you my recipe for the tasty filling.
4-5 McIntosh apples
1 large bowl of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed in
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
First, peel and core your apples. As you peel and core them, put them into the lemon water so they don’t turn brown. Once all the apple are peeled and cored, halve each apple and the cut each half into slices. Then dice the slices so you’ve uniform chunks of apple. As you dice them, put them back into the water so they don’t brown.
Once all of your apples are diced, drain off most of the water, reserving about a half cup. Put the apples and water into a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir to combine.
Bring the apples up to a boil and stir frequently. If they start to stick a little bit, turn the flame down. Cook the apples for 15-20 minutes until they soften (but still hold their shape) and the water is evaporated. Turn the flame off and let the apples cool significantly, for 30 minutes or so. You can speed up the cooling process by sticking them in the fridge if you’d like. You don’t want to put hot filling into the pie crust since that will make it harder to get the pie crust to cooperate in the press.
Once the filling is cool enough, put a generous tablespoon or so into each crust and bake for 15 minutes at 425, then another 20-25 minutes at 350, until your crust is a light golden brown.
And try to let them cool down at least a little bit before you dig in!
You’ll likely have some filling left over, since it only takes a little bit to fill each hand pie, without it oozing out the sides. I like to freeze my extra so I have pie filling handy on the fly when I don’t have fresh apples in the house. But you could also just eat it plain, like a chunky applesauce, or as a side to a pork chop or with a little fresh bread. There’s really no bad way to eat good apples.