Last weekend I went up to Hudson, New York with my boyfriend, Joe, and some friends, for a little leaf peeping and obligatory Instagramming. We ended up being there just in time, as a big storm came and took most of the leaves down, but not before we had a perfect fall day. (See photos of friends drinking cider while wearing hats.) For me, a perfect fall day includes a little seasonal baking project, but it does not include spending the a beautiful October day in the kitchen.
I had ambitions to make an apple pie, but without my usual kitchen setup, and without feeling like taking on the ordeal of making homemade pie crust, I decided to use store bought puff pastry to make these Easy Apple Hand Pies instead. Ina uses puff pastry for everything from delicate tarts to savory hors d’oeuvres to empanadas- it’s buttery and flaky and SO easy to work with. All you have to do is defrost it, unfold the sheets, roll ’em out, and you’re ready to go. In a pinch, I even used a wine bottle to roll out the puff pastry sheets. Turns out it works just as well, minus the floury wine label.
These pies deliver all of the warm apple and cinnamon goodness of a traditional apple pie but take about an hour to make, from start to finish. There’s also a serious “wow factor”- individual pies are impressive, and it’s your choice whether or not to admit how easy they were to make. They travel well and are great warm or at room temperature, but since people aren’t really eating hand pies on the go very often, I highly recommend serving them warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Easy Apple Hand Pies
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 3 crisp apples, such as Macoun or Jonagold, cored and cut into ¾” dice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbs all purpose flour
- 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, for egg wash
- 1 tbs turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
- Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
- Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry.
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut four 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish as a guide and discarding the scraps.
- Place ¼ cup of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.