Apple Hand Pies

Yield about 15 hand pies

Buttermilk Pie Crust recipe from Joy the Baker

Pie Crust:

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 (12 ounces) cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (5 to 6 ounces) cold buttermilk

Pie Filling:

1 pound of McIntosh apples (2 medium)

1 pound of Granny Smith apples (2 medium)

1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of zest from 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1/4 ground

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 ground nutmeg

Egg wash

For Crust:

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.  Measure out the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold (you could even put it in the freezer for a few minutes too).

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Take the cold butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture.

Dump the cold butter cubes and flour mixture onto a large work area for rolling.  With a rolling pin, roll the mixture, flattening the butter cubes with the flour into long, thin, floured butter sheets.  Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold.  Below is what the rolled butter and flour look like after I’ve gathered them together on the work surface a bit.

Place the flour and flattened butter back in the large bowl and chill for 10 minutes.    When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, make a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture.  Add the cold buttermilk to the bowl all at once.  Begin to bring the dough together with one hand (keep the other hand free to answer the phone).

Moisten all of the flour with the milk, using your hand to break up large clumps of milk and flour.  The dough will be rather shaggy, but you can add another tablespoon of buttermilk, if you see that all your flour isn’t moistened.  Form the dough into two disks.  The disks will be rough, and hard to shape together, but once they rest in the fridge for an hour, they’ll be easier to roll out.

Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  At this point, the dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks.  For freezing, roll the dough out into sheets and wrap them in plastic film.

For Apple Pie Filling:

Peel, core and cut apples in half, and dice.  You want the dice to be rather small. It'll make it easier to fill your hand pies. Then toss the diced apples with the lemon juice and zest. In a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, salt and spices together and toss with the diced apples. Set aside.

For Apple Hand Pie Assembly:

Are you having fun yet?! I am!!

Okay, now...remove one half of your pie dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 2-3 minutes. Roll the dough out to a 1/6-inch thickness. Grab a 5-inch biscuit cutter (I used the cup from my juicer machine) and cut out as many circles as possible.  I had to re-roll the dough a few times to use it all up. Place your dough circles out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.  Take out your second pie dough half from the refrigerator and repeat the steps above.  You should end up with 13-15 dough circles.

Grab a ramekin of water, ramekin of egg wash and the bowl of the apple pie filling.  Remove the first baking sheet of dough circles from the fridge.  You might want to let the dough sit for a 1-2 minutes so they're a bit more pliable.  If the dough is too cold, then it'll break and crack when you try and fold it over.

Take a tablespoon of the apple pie filling and place it on one half of your dough circle.  Brush the bottom edge with a small amount of water and fold over the top half so it's now a half moon shape. Take a fork and press the edges to bind them together. Brush with egg wash and make a slit on the top.  Repeat over and over until you've assembled all of your hand pies.  Place them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and put them back in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes to chill.

At this time, pre-heat the oven 375 degrees. When the hand pies are done chilling, remove from the refrigerator and place in the piping hot oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

You'll know when they're just about done because your house will be engulfed with the most amazing smell of spices and apples!

Place them on a cooling rack...or eat warm like I did!