Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies: Devilishly delicious!

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

I can say a few things about these pies with utmost certainly — they are delicious, they are adorable and they are a total pain in the ass.

But let’s back up, shall we? I have been dreaming about these apple hand pies for a very long time. They seemed too cute (i.e. labor-intensive) to waste on every day life, so I was saving them for a special occasion. When my co-workers decided to have a party after work for Halloween, I knew the time had come. After all what goes better with camel burgers and gator sausage than apple pies with salted caramel?

My downfall was not thinking the project through. The night before the party I was scheduled to work late and I knew I’d have to bake at least 30 hand pies to have enough to go around. This is why I should have baked cookies instead!

And yet at 9:30 pm I found myself starting a double batch of these tiny little pies. Around 11 pm I started to hate myself a little bit. No matter how cute they looked.

But let’s focus on the good parts, starting with the dough, which according to one of my co-workers is a “rough puff” or a faux puff pastry. Made with a blend of salt, baking powder, flour, butter and sour cream it comes out super flakey and tender. I’ve always been a little nervous about dough in general, but this was a dream to work with.

Once the dough was made, the apple prep began. I peeled and minced three Granny Smith apples, tossing them with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Then I started building little pies, piling the apples in the center of the rounds, topping them with chunks of caramel and flakes of Maldon sea salt. Then came the final touches, crimping the edges, brushing on egg wash and sprinkling the pies with sanding sugar.

When I pulled the first tray from the oven, I waited, oh, about five minutes before eating one. The result? Heavenly! So tasty they were totally worth the time and effort. And my co-workers definitely agreed — these pies disappeared with lightening speed. I even had to give up the one I had stashed away so nobody had to go pie-less.

However the next night, with more time on my hands, I tinkered a bit with the recipe. I thought the filling needed more intensity so I cooked slices of peeled apple in butter, with cinnamon, sugar and lemon, and added a generous splash of Applejack to it, allowing it to cook off into the apples.

Once the apples were cooled, I diced them up and piled them onto the dough and baked just as I had before. And yes — I have to say even delicious can be improved upon. Sautéing really brought out the flavor in the fruit. If you’d rather not use apple brandy, apple cider would work just fine.

Another hint — don’t be shy with the filling. The dough puffs up so much it’s easy for the apples to get lost in there. Add plenty of caramel pieces (more than the two you see in the pictures!) and don’t skimp on the salt. It will make all the difference.

Then sit back and revel in the cuteness!

Minced apples with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice.

Minced apples with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice.

Building some delicious...

Building some delicious…

Salt and caramel equal instant love.

Salt and caramel equal instant love.

Getting ready for the oven.

Getting ready for the oven.

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie

Soooo good!


21 thoughts on “Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies: Devilishly delicious!

  1. love your tale. As someone who doesn’t always “think through” cooking and baking projects before beginning, I totally get it. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Cookies wouldn’t have been nearly as lovely and amazing. Am especially impressed that you went back for more the next night. Improving upon greatness is never a wasted effort!

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one who flies by the seat of their pants when it comes to baking. At least I’m in good company! =) And you’re right — these were way more exciting than cookies.

  2. These look fabulous and worth the effort. I often find myself doing a similar thing when I’m making bread or yeast buns and I forget about just how long it can take to double prove the yeast. Always worth the effort but there is definitely some cursing in the process. Going to have to get my act together and try my hand at making pastry soon so I can try these babies. Great post.

    • Yeah — I’m always up way later than expected trying to finish something. At least it’s all worth it when I get to eat it! =) And you should totally try making these. I am already on batch #3. I can’t stop! They are just too good.

  3. I’ve never heard of apple hand pies. How cute! Then I saw the little bitty pieces of apple. Where do you find the patience? Anyway, I do enjoy the applause when people like what I cook or bake. These little pies are just right. I can see them being served after a huge holiday meal!

    • Oh man, cutting those itty bitty pieces was part of what drove me so crazy! But these were so cute and tasty they made up for the suffering. =) And they would be great as a holiday dessert — with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, I don’t think it could get much better!

  4. Wow, do these look good! I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve embarked on one of these cooking adventures and been up late, like you were. Nice work and thanks for the honesty…some things are worth being a pain in the ass!

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