A tasty apple hand pies recipe! See how to make apple hand pies with a simple vegan gluten-free pie crust and a flavorful apple pie filling. These fruit hand pies are a delicious and healthy fall baking recipe, and mini apple pies also make for a healthy homemade food gift idea. And, this easy hand pie recipe also includes two shortcuts: puff pastry hand pies and apple hand pies with canned pie filling.
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Easy apple hand pies recipe
It’s the time of year when the days become shorter, and the weather cools down. And it’s the perfect time for delicious homemade apple hand pies! These gluten-free vegan apple hand pies or mini apple pies are boasting with fall flavours, apple, cinnamon, a little lemon zest, and caramel notes – the perfect homemade pop tarts!
This easy hand pie recipe tastes yummy for breakfast with a cup of coffee, for tea time, or as a delicious snack. Bonus: making apple pie hand pies can be sped up by switching the homemade vegan pie crust for store-bought puff pastry, or by subbing the easy homemade apple filling with canned pie filling or both.
This recipe for easy individual apple pies is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free. I’ve also included useful tips for the best apple hand pies, so read on and learn how to make baked hand pies with apples.
What is a hand pie?
Hand pies are small pastries that are made by baking a filling between small rounds of pie crust or puff pastry. Think apple pie for one person, apple pop tarts, or mini apple pie pockets. Recipes can be for sweet and savoury hand pies, and hand pies can be baked, fried, or deep-fried. The hand pie history traces back to England and Cornwall, where hand pies were eaten as an easy lunch by workers and miners.
Apple hand pie ingredients
You probably have most of the ingredients for these vegan apple hand pies already stocked. Here is an overview of the mini apple pie ingredients:
The gluten-free flour from Bob’s Red Mill, Cup4Cup or KingArthur will all work well in this recipe. If you don’t need a gluten-free apple pie recipe, you can make the apple pie pastries with all-purpose or whole wheat flour as well.
Vegan butter and shortening
Looking at the vegan pie crust ingredients, you can see that vegan butter and palm shortening are listed. Shortening has a higher melting point than vegan butter and combining the two will give you the flaky pie crust. Coconut oil and be used instead of shortening, too.
What apples to use for apple pie filling? You can make portion-sized apple pies with pretty much any apple you like. Granny Smith is my go-to baking apple, but I also like Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Crispin, Braeburn, and Jonagold. I don’t recommend McIntosh apples for this recipe since they don’t hold their shape well and cook into a sauce quickly.
Maple sugar, coconut sugar, muscovado sugar, and brown sugar can be used interchangeably in this easy hand pies recipe. A dark sugar brings in a wonderful caramel note, similar to caramel apple pop tarts.
The delicious warming flavour in these fruity hand pies comes from apple pie spices. I used my homemade apple pie spice for seasoning. If you don’t have this spice blend, mix together 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp of each ground allspice, ground nutmeg and ground ginger. And this pre-made mix works well, too.
Tips for the best apple hand pies
This hand pie recipe is a standard at my house! It’s a delicious snack, breakfast or dessert… there is never a wrong time to eat apple hand pies! Here are a few tips to help you get the best apple hand pies from scratch.
Easy apple pie filling
The apple pie filling is the same I used in my vegan apple pie bars. This easy pie filling tastes sweet, buttery and full of delicious warming spices! Follow these tips for the best apple pie filling for mini pies:
- Cut the apples into tiny bits so that more fruit fits into the mini apple pastry.
- The apple hand pies baking time isn’t long enough to soften the apples, so it’s best to precook the filling on the stove.
- When cooking the filling stir constantly as the sugar easily burns. The mixture is done when the sugar has melted and caramelised, the apples are tender, and the liquid is mostly gone.
- Make the apple pie filling first and let it cool before stuffing the hand pies. Warm filling will soften the dough, which makes it difficult to form mini pies.
- The apple pie filling can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store it airtight and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake.
Hand pie dough recipe
See the instructions in the recipe box below for how to make gluten-free pie crust. Here are a few tips so that your homemade pie crust will be a success:
- Be sure to use cold fats and ice-cold water to make the pie crust. The colder the pie dough is, the easier it is to roll out and handle.
- For this reason, it’s a good idea to chill the dough before rolling it out. To do this, pat the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap/clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- When rolling out the pie crust, start from the middle going outwards. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment/baking paper, so the crust doesn’t stick to the work surface.
- Use a circle cutter that’s at least 2 in/5 cm, between 3 in – 4 in/7 cm – 10 cm works best. If you go smaller than that, you won’t get much filling into the pies.
- Instead of making round pies, you can also cut out rectangular strips of dough and make apple pop tarts.
- Lastly, watch the baking time closely, so the pies don’t burn or dry out.
Shortcuts: Quick apple pie hand pies
Making a pie crust at home and cooking the stovetop apple pie filling is well worth the effort but takes a little time. Sometimes, all we need is quick fall comfort food or a fast and easy apple dessert. With these easy shortcuts, you’ll enjoy warm apple hand pies in no time!
Apple hand pies with puff pastry
Skip making pie crust from scratch, and prepare the mini apple pies with puff pastry instead. The steps to making apple hand pies with puff pastry are pretty much the same, cut out pastry circles, dollop on a little filling, top with another puff pastry round, glaze and bake store-bought pie crust hand pies.
Puff pastry is also great to make apple turnovers: Cut out large pastry circles, dollop apple filling on one half and then fold the other half over the filling. Crimp the edges shut and bake the puff pastry hand pies.
Apple hand pies with canned pie filling
While I think that a homemade apple pie filling tastes best, you can easily make apple hand pies with canned pie filling, too. Before you fill the pastry, taste the pie filling and adjust the flavour with more spices, lemon juice or sweetener if needed. If the apple pie filling is very chunky, cut large pieces into smaller bits.
And if you want the easiest and quickest apple turnovers? Easy! Just make this mini apple pie recipe with a ready-made puff pastry and canned apple pie filling. It won’t get any easier than that!
Do hand pies need to be refrigerated?
The shelf life for apple hand pies is 5 days. It’s fine to keep them at room temperature for a day. To store them longer than a day, put the hand pies on a plate loosely covered with cling film and store them in the refrigerator.
How do you reheat hand pies?
Yes, nothing beats warm apple pie! Amirite? You can reheat this mini apple pie recipe by warming them in the microwave for a minute, or baking them in a 215°F/100°C oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
Tools and supplies to make apple pie hand pies
Tab the following links to shop the products I used to make this vegan hand pies recipe:
Over to you!
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