Remember last year when I confessed that I don’t really like pumpkin pie? Well, in keeping with tradition of sharing embarrassing pie facts about myself, I’ll confess that I also don’t really like apple pie. Unlike my daughter, I could go without mountains of sugary apples (she devours sautéed apples with cinnamon). I’m mostly in the “pie game” for the buttery crust. Which makes hand pies the perfect solution, since, in my opinion, they have an acceptable ratio of pie dough to apple filling. Add some salted caramel, and I’m hooked. I can honestly say that I love these apple hand pies; the flaky, buttery crust is my best version yet! If you are looking for a fun new thanksgiving (or any time year) dessert, then I recommend you give these a try.
SALTED CARAMEL APPLE HAND PIES
caramel recipe adapted from Bobby Flay recipe via NYT Cooking
yields 8 individual hand pies
pie dough (recipe below)
salted caramel (recipe below)
1 and 1/2 medium-sized granny smith apples
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 pinches nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/3 cup turbinado sugar
2 and 1/4 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cold butter, diced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, lukewarm
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Make the pie dough: In a medium-large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and sea salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until the largest butter pieces are about the size of a small pea. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and apple cider vinegar, then sprinkle it all over the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula or your hands, gather the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with something airtight, and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- Make the salted caramel: Stir together the sugar and water in a medium-large saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes. Do not stir. The sugar will start to bubble and caramelize- you will know it’s done when the color changes to an amber brown. As soon as the sugar has caramelized, remove from heat to prevent burning and VERY slowly add the lukewarm cream while whisking constantly. If you add the cream too fast the caramel will froth and overflow the pot. After the cream is added, whisk in the butter, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.
- Make your apple filling: Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter, then immediately add the diced apples and cook for 2 min, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt – stir to combine, then remove from heat. Mix in approximately 1/3 of the salted caramel. Set aside the remaining 2/3 salted caramel.
If you are ready to assemble and bake your hand pies, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Assemble and bake: Line one large baking sheet (preferably one with edges to catch any drips) with parchment paper. In a small bowl, beat the egg and a splash of water. Grab a pastry brush and set aside for use in a minute. Have your turbinado sugar accessible as well (once you start working with your dough you want to move quickly so the butter doesn’t melt). Generously dust a large, clean surface with flour.
- Roll the dough out into a 20” x 10” rectangle. This should equal enough space for you to cut two rows of four dough circles. Cut eight 5” rounds of dough with a sharp knife (they don’t have to be exact circles). Brush a 1” strip of egg around the edge of each circle. Spoon the apples and caramel into the center of the 8 circles. Fold each dough circle in half and pinch the edges together firmly. Take a fork and firmly press indentations along the edge. See my photos above for reference, if needed.
- Put the hand pies on your prepared baking sheet and leave a small amount of space between the pies. Brush some egg on top of each pie, then evenly sprinkle on the turbinado sugar (roughly ½ tablespoon per pie, plus a little extra if needed). Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 min, or until the pies turn a deep golden brown. Drizzle the remaining salted caramel sauce over the hand pies (alternatively you may use it as a dipping sauce). If the caramel has firmed up, heat it slightly and it should loosen and become more runny.
The hand pies taste best the first day, but they do heat up decently as leftovers.