Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apple Butter Hand Pies

Apple Butter Hand Pies

I have only one complaint about this recipe, and it's that these mini-pies can't hold any more apple butter.  So I spread more on top of a hand pie like it's toast.  But spoon more apple butter inside and it just squeezes out the sides when the pastry is folded up.  The crust is nice too, made tender and slightly tangy with the addition of cream cheese, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  It comes out softer than your usual pie crust, almost like a cookie.  The pies are also good reheated in the toaster oven the day after.

Apple Butter

The apple butter took some time to make, but not much work.  I used 6 pounds of Galas from the farmers market.  It was my first taste ever of apple butter, and I found it to be somewhere between applesauce and apple pie filling, and nicely spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove.  You won't use it all up in the pies like the recipe indicates, but that's all right with me: The apple butter is also great on top of pancakes, or as part of a grilled cheese sandwich.  I think pear butter has to be next on my list.

Apple Butter Hand Pies 2

Apple Butter Hand Pies
From Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Hand Pie Dough (recipe follows)
2 cups Apple Butter (recipe follows, or best-quality storebought fruit butter)
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough ⅛ inch thick.  Using a 4½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 16 rounds.  (My note: Use the rim of a drinking glass if you don't have one this size.)  Transfer rounds to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, and refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons apple butter onto half of a round, using the back of the spoon to spread evenly about ½ inch from edge (make sure the butter is not completely flattened).  Quickly brush ice water around circumference of dough, and fold round in half, creating a half-moon shape.  Using your fingers, press down on edges to seal and flute edges.  Repeat process with remaining dough rounds and apple butter.  Place hand pies on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.  Lightly brush hand pies with water, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar mixture, dividing evenly.  Bake until hand pies are golden brown and crust is just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pies to a wire rack; let cool slightly before serving.

Apple Butter
From Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts
Makes 2 cups
15 apples, such as Mutsu, Gala, or Golden Delicious (about 6½ pounds), peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup unsweetened apple cider
2 tbs Calvados (apple brand) or regular brandy -- I didn't have any and left it out
1 large cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples have broken down into a saucelike consistency, about 45 minutes.  Mash any large pieces of apple with the back of a spoon, if necessary.

Using a heatproof spatula, transfer apple mixture to a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking, stirring often, until apples are completely broken down and butter is very thick and dark, about 2 hours.  Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 month, or freeze up to 6 months.

Hand Pie Dough
From Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbs low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and zest.

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add egg, and beat until just combined.  Add cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until well combined.  Add reserved flour mixture, and beat until smooth.  Form dough into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap; flatten into a disk, and refrigerate 1 hour or up to overnight, or freeze up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator before using).

My tip: Who wants to buy a quart of buttermilk only to use 2 tablespoons in a recipe?  If you don't have any buttermilk handy, sprinkle a few drops of vinegar in 2 tablespoons of regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes.


  1. These look fantastic, Shirley. If you packed them any more full with apple butter, they probably wouldn't hold together that well!

  2. What a wonderful fall treat! I love anything requiring pastry and apples. Thank you for sharing another batch of sweetness with me. I hope you are having a restful and happy Sunday!

  3. What a nice autumn treat! This apple butter has lots of nice ingredients - no wonder it looks delicious. I like your next idea of using pear too!


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