Do you remember those hand pies you could find at the grocery store at two for a dollar back in the day? Those were one of my favorite desserts. I always considered them an extra special treat, too, because I wasn’t allowed to have them very often. And if I remember correctly, I was especially fond of the apple and berry varieties.

Well, it’s been years since I’ve even so much as thought about a hand pie. That is, until recently when I was looking up recipes for apples and blackberries, both of which are in season right now, and ran into this post from Alexandra’s Kitchen for an adult version of apple hand pies made with cheddar crust. Delicious!

I got to work on these straight away, substituting some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and the white cheddar with my favorite Tillamook Cheese, and they turned out really delicious. Only problem? This recipe makes at least 15 pies, which is way too many for Matt and I to eat ourselves, so it looks like I’ll be giving a few of them away to friends and family this week.

To make your own handheld apple pies:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 stick butter, chilled and sliced
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water

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3 or 4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Juice from half a lemon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Other Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cold butter, diced into small pieces
1 egg yolk

Pour the flour, sugar, salt, butter and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse crumb. Add ice water slowly, one tablespoon at a time while pulsing, until the dough begins to tear away from the edges of the food processor. Press dough together and divide in half. Form each half into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and press into a disc. Refrigerate for an hour.

While the dough is refrigerating, prepare your apples, and mix in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Stir until well combined, cover, and set aside.

Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll out until 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a bowl, punch out holes in the dough and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Re-roll the dough and continue punching out circles until there is no dough left. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator, and repeat the process with the last disc of dough.

Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each dough circle. Using your index finger, seal the edges of the dough circles with water and press together. Using a fork, create a decorative edging over the sealed portion of the dough. Repeat this process until all of your pies are sealed and arranged on the cookie sheet with at least 1/2 an inch space between them.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Using a knife, score each pie two or three times on top. Place your cookie sheets back in the refrigerator until the oven has preheated.

To bake, place cookie sheet on middle rack and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack until room temperature.

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart via Alexandra’s Kitchen and Reclaiming Provincial.

I first allowed my hand pies to cool completely overnight. Then I cut strips of decorative paper and red raffia to wrap around them in a band. To prepare them for gifting, I used large favor bags that I covered with more decorative paper. I then sealed my bags with tags and labels in the style Morocco.

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Lindsay (114 Posts)

Lindsay is a writer/blogger from Oregon who loves crafting, cooking, gardening, and simple living. You can find her writing about all of this and more on her blog A Wooden Nest.


  1. Lindsay, these look delicious! I have been making apple hand pies for our Christmas parties for many years, but to make them this size and shape, and package them they way you have, looks fun and fantastic! I could not find where you say what diameter you made the circles of dough. Please let me know; that is all I need to get started.
    Oh, and a tip for you. I make my hand pies (whole pies too) and freeze them before baking. This way they are waiting in the freezer until needed. I bake them up until richly browned and bubbling in the center. They can’t be better, even after being frozen! This way you can be ready even a month or two ahead of your special event, and just pop them in the oven to bake right before serving or giving them.
    Soooooo gooooood!

  2. Jeanne,

    I hadn’t though of keeping them in the freezer, but that’s a great idea. Thanks for the tip!

    Regarding the diameter, I wanted my pies to fit sideways inside the large favor bags, so I made them about 4.5 inches in diameter, using the rim of a small bowl. The size can be flexible so long as you take your packaging material into consideration.

    Hope that helps!

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