One of our favorite spots to visit, go for lunch and hang out for an afternoon is a local orchard near our home. It has land as far as the eye can see, pick-your-own fruits as the season permits and apple orchards brimming with blossoms and fruit in the fall. They make incredible fried apple hand pies filled with fresh apple (and sometimes strawberry rhubarb, and peach when the season permits). Hot from the fryer and dipped in a sweet sugar glaze, these apple hand pies are always a favorite of anyone who visits. If they make it home, we like to reheat them a little and add a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top for a practically perfect fall treat.
Turning Farm Fresh Apples into Fried Apple Pies
This fall we enjoyed apple picking as a family and decided to try our hand at making our own delicious hand pies thanks to the excess number of apples we picked. Our resulting hand pies may just rival those at our local orchard. These pies are flaky, soft and oozing with delicious apples. The pie crust itself is worthy of a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and eating plain…yes it’s that good. Eaten warm or left to cool a bit before devouring, these hand pies are just decadent, delicious and worth the calories in every. single. bite.
Is the Dough Sticky? Don’t Worry!
The dough for these hand pies may start out pretty sticky. Depending on the size of your egg, you may need to add more or less flour to the dough. Once the dough is mixed up, liberally flour your workspace (about ½ cup of flour). Pour the dough on top of the flour mixture and knead a few times (no heavy kneading, but enough to incorporate some of the flour into the dough and keep it from being too sticky). Add more flour as needed. I like to lay down a piece of parchment paper on my workspace and shape the dough on the parchment paper for easy clean-up.
Chilling the Dough
I am not always a super patient baker. I like to test the limits when it comes to my time. With that said, this dough is definitely better if you give it a full hour to chill in the fridge. If you really want to speed up the process, chill it for 20 minutes in the freezer (take it out before it’s frozen), but give it that time to chill. This helps the butter in the dough solidify which gives flakiness to the dough when you fry it. Chilling the dough also makes it easier to roll out and work with as you shape the pies.
Cooking the Apple Mixture is the Key to Bold Flavor
The filling of these apple hand pies is just perfect. I like using a combination of apples for the pie filling, usually one type that is a bit more tart (ie: Granny Smith) and one type that is a little more sweet (we used Gala and Golden Delicious). Cooking the filling down before putting it in the pies is another trick that makes these pies perfect. The apple filling is delicious stirred into oatmeal, crumbled with oats or eaten by the spoonful with a bit of whipped cream (don’t ask me how I know 🙂 ). The apples are peeled and then simmered in a mixture of butter, sugar and spices before adding in flour to thicken it up.
Fry or Bake…or Both?
If you are really going for the real deal fried apple pies…frying is the way to go. I don’t fry pastry very often, but these pies are worth it. If you are a technical baker, you will want to heat your oil to about 375 degrees. I am not very technical sometimes…so I just throw in a small piece of dough and see what it does. If it browns too quickly, I turn down the heat. If it takes a long time to brown, I turn the heat up a bit. Be careful when adding more oil as that will change temperature and you will need to add a little more time for the oil to heat up again. You can also flash fry these pies, giving them about 20 seconds per side and then baking them in the oven the rest of the way. I haven’t tried using an air fryer, though I think that would probably work. Lastly, you could probably bake the pies for an oil-free and “healthier” alternative. I haven’t tried it but I would probably give them about 10 minutes at 350. Let me know in the comments if you go this route.
Shaping the Pies
These hand pies are fun for the whole family to get involved with. We used a bowl to cut out the pie shape, but you could use a large round cookie cutter or make smaller pies with a smaller circle cut-out. My kids love helping shape the hand pies, and the dough is very forgiving for little fingers.
Glaze. Glaze. Glaze.
The last step in making these pies is pouring the glaze over the warm pies and trying to keep all the little fingers away from snatching bites throughout the day. These apple pies are fun for the whole family to make and the reward is delicious! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Fried Apple Hand Pies
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling out/shaping
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening, butter flavor regular
- 1/2 cup milk see recipe notes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream see recipe notes
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying see recipe notes
Apple Pie Filling
- 4 cups chopped apples about 4 apples peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour reserved
- 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk more or less depending on how thin you want the glaze to be
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apple Pie Filling
- Peel about 4 medium-sized apples (I love this apple peeler, affiliate link). Chop into small chunks.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, apples, cinnamon nutmeg, sugar, water and salt. Simmer until the apples are softened, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook down a little more until a thick filling is formed.
- Allow the filling to cool to room temperature until ready to use in the hand pies (you can cool quickly in the freezer or fridge if needed). The filling will also last a day or two in the fridge or about 3 months in the freezer.
Hand Pie Dough
- Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add the butter and shortening to the bowl. Cut in with a pastry cutter (affiliate link) until it looks like a fine crumb.
- To a liquid measuring cup, mix the milk and heavy cream together. Add an egg and mix until combined.
- Add the liquid mixture to crumbled butter/flour mixture, a little at a time. Use a fork to fluff the mixture and combine together until it forms a dough. The dough will be a little sticky. Don’t worry!
- Liberally flour (about ½ cup or more of flour) a piece of parchment paper or workspace. Pour the dough out onto the counter and knead a few times until the dough comes together and is not overly sticky.
- Pat into a thick rectangle and wrap in parchment paper. Stick in the fridge for at least an hour to chill (you can leave it in the fridge up to 24 hours if you wish).
Hand Pie Assembly
- Take the chilled dough from the fridge. Liberally flour a counter and roll the dough out on the counter to about ⅛ an inch thick.
- Press out circles of dough with a large, circular cookie cutter or small bowl. I like to use a bowl around 5 inches wide, so the pie is of a decent size. Continue pressing out circles until you have 12 circles of dough. If you have extra pieces of dough, you can press them together and form a circle with your fingers.
- To each circle, add about 1-2 Tablespoons of apple pie filling, right in the center of the circle.
- Wet your finger and lightly rub your wet finger around half of the pie dough. Fold the other half of the dough over (to form a semi-circle) and seal by lightly pressing a fork down on the edges to crimp them closed.
- Continue with the rest of the dough circles until you have about 12 apple pies.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze: powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Heat about 3 cups of vegetable oil in a large saucepan* over medium heat until hot (drop a little piece of dough in the oil and watch it to see if it’s ready. If it darkens and browns immediately, turn the heat down. If it stays light, up the heat a little. You want a medium brown color.
- Place about 3 apple pies at a time in the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes. Flip over to the other side and fry for an additional 2-3 minutes. If you notice your pies browning too quickly, reduce the temperature and flip over.
- Cool on a cooling rack.
- When they are cool enough for you to touch them, dip them in the glaze mixture, covering the entire pie. Put them back on the cooling rack for the icing to solidify.
- Eat warm, with a scoop of ice cream if desired. Enjoy!
Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂