Handheld apple pies are a little more labor intensive than making a whole pie, but they’re perfect for a summer get together when utensils are optional. They feature warm spices and a buttery, flaky crust.
When I was growing up, my mom’s specialty, which was required at every family get together, was her deviled eggs.
I remember my uncle jokingly blocking the door, looking for her tell-tale Tupperware box before we were allowed to come inside. I also remember one fateful day when I accidentally dropped the box, creating havoc as everyone had to scoop the filling, which was splattered all over inside the plastic container, back into the eggs. (Sorry, Mom.)
It’s funny how people can sort of become known for their potluck specialties. Over the past couple of years, we have been blessed to be included in some friends’ family get togethers—such as their most recent on July 4—and I’m pretty sure I’ve become the dessert person.
Their family creates an enviable spread of amazing dishes. You literally can’t fit a taste of everything on your plate in the first pass. And there are also always all kinds of cakes and cookies and other great desserts on the table. After introducing them to pineapple tarts last year and handheld apple pies this year, though, I’m pretty sure my spot is cemented in that dessert section.
This recipe is by Katie Ferrier and is featured on the Taste of Home website. You can find the original post at https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/hand-held-apple-pies/. I went completely rogue on the filling in my version.
Handheld Apple Pies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups tart apples, peeled and diced
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 to 3 tablespoons butter, cold
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
about 2 tablespoons sugar, mixed with a teaspoon cinnamon
Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the flour and sugar until everything is well combined. Form the dough into a rough ball (It might be sticky. Floured hands is a good idea.), and divide it into two pieces. Form each half into a disk, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When you’re ready to start assembling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients except the butter and stir well to evenly coat the apples.
Remove the dough disks from the fridge and cut each into 12 pieces. Keep any pieces you’re not currently working with in the fridge to keep them from getting sticky.
To assemble the pies, roll out each ball of dough on a floured surface into about a four-inch circle.
Add about one tablespoon of apples on one side of the circle and add just a bit of butter. (I cut mine into roughly tablespoon-sized squares and then diced it. Each pie got two to three tiny dots of butter.)
Fold the dough over into a half-circle shape, and either fold the edges up to seal them or crimp them firmly with a fork.
Place the prepared pies one to two inches apart on a baking sheet.
Once your baking sheet is full, whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Brush the tops and edges of each pie with a thin layer of the egg mixture, and then sprinkle them liberally with the cinnamon/sugar mix. Finish the pies off by cutting two or three small slits in the top to let the steam vent while they cook.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops of your pies are golden brown. Remove the pies from the oven and let cool before storing in an air-tight container or serving.
These were buttery and full of great spices and were so, so good. They were a huge hit at the Fourth of July party, and I was glad I doubled the recipe for the whole crew to enjoy.
They are also fantastic for breakfast, if you’re into sweets in the morning.
It’s fun to bake for a whole different crowd—especially one that is so sure to tell you when they really enjoy something you make. And I think, as long as I keep my oven going for these get-togethers, we’ll continue to have a standing invitation. (As long as I don’t drop my creations before they get to the table.)
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.