Peppery apple hand pies on a plate
Photos by Elliot and Fred


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2 dozen hand pies

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅔ cups butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Peppery Apple Hand Pie Filling
  • 6 cups medium apples, sliced and dehydrated
  • 8 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Assembling Hand Pies
  • 3 eggs
  • Canola oil or lard, as needed

Hand Pie Dough

  1. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and butter together well. 
  2. Transfer mixture to food processor, and pulse 3 to 4 times at about 4 seconds per pulse, until mixture is texture of coarse meal.
  3. Return mixture to bowl, add buttermilk and vinegar, and work liquids into crumbly mixture with hands. As dough begins to form, fold it over itself. This process will create layers, ensuring a flaky crust. 
  4. Once dough has come together, transfer to floured surface and divide in half. Wrap each half tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Peppery Apple Hand Pie Filling    

  1. Soak dried apples in apple cider for at least 1 hour and then boil for 10 minutes. Turn heat down and simmer for additional 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. With slotted spoon, transfer apples to deep casserole dish and toss with brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla bean. Reserve boiling cider to correct potential baking dryness.
  4. Bake, stirring frequently, until filling begins to break down, about 30 minutes. Add cider as needed to correct dryness and taste as you go.
  5. Remove filling from oven and stir in cream.

Assembling Hand Pies

  1. On gently floured surface, roll out pie dough to ¼-inch thick. 
  2. Working quickly, use 4½-inch ring mold to cut out circles.
  3. Discard leftover pieces and refrigerate circles for 10 minutes.
  4. Beat 3 eggs for egg wash and set aside.
  5. Working in batches, remove 3 to 4 circles at a time from refrigerator. Brush edges of dough circle lightly with egg wash. Place 1-2 tablespoons filling in center and fold. Press down around edges thoroughly, sealing with fingers or a fork. 
  6. Transfer finished hand pies to refrigerator while working on remaining circles. 
  7. Fry hand pies in cast-iron skillet filled with 3 inches canola oil or lard at 350 degrees until golden brown. Note: You can also bake on cookie sheet for 14 minutes at 350 degrees. If you choose to bake the pies, then brush tops with more egg wash and sprinkle black pepper on the apple one for added spice.
  • A collaboration from Chef Travis Milton of Richmond, Virginia and pastry Chef Lisa Donovan of Nashville, Tennessee

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