I love apple pie, but for some reason, minis always taste better! These mini apple pies (apple hand pies) are made with flaky and delicious dough and have a lovely apple and cinnamon filling. They’re lovely to eat and also great fun to make.
How to make mini apple pies (apple hand pies)
Making these apple pies is fun and almost therapeutic. There’s something about following a recipe with many steps that just relaxes my soul on a deep level. Now that you know me a bit more, let me tell you how to make these mini apple pies (apple hand pies). First, you’ll make a butter-based dough. It’s a brisée type dough, like the one we use in a quiche. For the filling, we cook the apples along with cinnamon, sugar, butter and cornstarch until it thickens. Then comes the fun part: the assembly.
The pie dough
As I mentioned, the dough for these mini apple pies (apple hand pies) is a brisée dough. To make this type of dough, you will cut up the butter and mix it with the dry ingredients. Then, with your hands, you will pinch the butter to break it apart. However, it’s important for this dough that you don’t break apart the butter completely. We want to keep a few lumps of butter in the dough. This will make it extra flaky. Then, you add the water which will bind everything together to form a dough. The dough needs to rest in the fridge wrapped in cling film and then it’s ready to roll out. You can keep it there for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
The apple and cinnamon filling
The apple and cinnamon filling is really simple to make and the result is SO delicious. You will cook all the ingredients until it thickens. This will take roughly 10 minutes. First, the apples will release a lot of liquid so the mix will be a bit soupy. Then, as it boils, the mix will thicken and the apples soften. Once the filling is ready, you need it to cool down and then refrigerate it. When it’s cold, it will thicken a lot because of the butter in the recipe. This makes it so much easier to fill the mini apple pies (apple hand pies) later.
How to shape mini apple pies (apple hand pies)
To shape the mini apple pies (apple hand pies) you will roll out the dough to about 2mm thick. Then, I used a round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough. You place around 2 tablespoons of the filling at the centre. Before covering the filling with another circle of dough, you will extend that circle a bit further with your fingers as it needs to be slightly bigger to cover the filling. You can paint the edges of the bottom circle with water if you used too much flour to roll it out. You place the top circle on top and close the edges with a fork. To make nice and even edges, I like to go back in with the cookie cutter I used before after closing it. If you like, you can also use other shapes of cookie cutters and have fun with them.
Tips for the best mini apple pies (apple hand pies)
- The apple type. I’m extra picky about the types of apples I use in my apple recipes. My absolute favourite always is Pink Lady. After that one, I also really like Fuji or Royal Gala. These apples have the perfect sweetness-to-tartness ratio that I adore for these types of recipes.
- Make your own dough. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming to read this but believe me when I say that this dough is amazing. Mini apple pies (apple hand pies) are about 40% dough so it is quite relevant.
- Refrigerate the filling. When you remove the filling from the pot, you will have a light jam texture. At this point, it would be really tricky to fill the pies. However, if you refrigerate it, the filling will be very firm because of the butter it has. This makes it very easy to work with.
- Don’t skip the slits on top. If you don’t give the steam a place to escape out of in the oven, the pies could break. You can play with their shape and placement as you like.
Mini Apple Pies (Apple Hand Pies)
For the dough
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- 60 g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 220 g unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- 110 ml/g water
For the filling
- 800 g apples 4 large apples. I prefer Pink Lady, Fuji or Royal Gala
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 150 g brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
For the dough
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix.
- Add the butter. Mix the butter in and pinch it along with the dry ingredients to break it up. You don't want to completely get rid of the butter lumps, we want some of them to remain semi-disintegrated. This will make the dough extra flaky.
- Add the water and knead lightly with your hands to bring the dough together. Only knead until the dough comes together and then stop. You will notice bits of butter in the dough, that's perfect.
- Refrigerate the dough wrapped in cling film for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for 2 months.
For the filling
- Peel the apples and cut them into very small cubes of 4-5mm.
- Place the apples in a pot along with all the other ingredients and place the pot over medium heat.
- Cook the apples until the mix thickens in the pot. First, the apples will let go of their juices and the mix will be very liquidy. As it boils, the apples will soften and it will begin to thicken. You're looking for a texture similar to a thin jam.
- Remove the apples from the pot and refrigerate them until completely cold. This will make the mix solidify because of the butter, making it much easier to fill the mini apple pies/apple hand pies.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 2mm thick.
- Cut out circles using a cookie cutter of 9-10cm/3.5-4 inches in diameter.
- Place 2 tablespoons of filling at the centre of the circle. If you used a lot of flour to roll out the dough, you can paint the edge with a bit of water.
- Hold the circle that belongs to the top of the mini apple pie/apple hand pie and use your fingers, pinching it slightly to stretch it out a bit more.
- Place it on top of the filling. Close the edges using a fork all around.
- Use the cookie cutter that you used before and use it to even out the edges of the mini apple pie you just formed.
- Use a pairing knife to cut 3 slits on the top of the pies so that the steam from the filling can be released. Repeat with all the pies.
- Paint the mini apple pies/apple hand pies with the beaten egg with the water. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake the pies in a preheated oven at 180℃℃/350℉ for 20-30 minutes or until golden.