Apple Hand Pies

Exciting news! I’m now a contributor at Food Fanatic, where I will be posting a few times a month about recipes using preserves. First up are these hand pies for Thanksgiving!

Apple hand pies are made with fresh apples, maraschino cherries and apple butter, all wrapped in a flaky buttery pie crust. Completely irresistible!

Apple Hand Pies for Thanksgiving //

When it comes to apple pie recipes, I look for a few specific things. First, the pie must have a high crust-to-filling ratio (or crumble-to-filling ratio, if you prefer crisps). And if there are pictures attached, I’m looking for a super-flaky, buttery-looking crust. If the crust is crummy, why bother with pie?

A few winters ago, I set out to find the very best pie crust possible. I tried all-butter crusts, all-shortening crusts and everything in between. The winner was a crust that used one-quarter shortening and three-quarters butter…but not by much. Since I rarely keep shortening around, I usually fall back on the close second-place winner: an all-butter crust that is still relatively easy to handle, and very flaky.

So that’s my standby pie crust. But while the crust may stay the same, the fillings I use rarely do. For apple pie recipes, I want ones where the filling is made with fresh apples and lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. The peeling and dicing might feel a little tedious, but if the reward at the end is a pie filling chock-full of fruit flavor and apple pieces with a little texture to them, I consider it to be well worth it.

Apple Hand Pies //

For this apple hand pies recipe, a little apple butter goes a long way in helping to thicken the pie filling and adds a little sweetness so you can cut back on the sugar. Basically, adding those few tablespoons is a win-win! I also added some homemade maraschino cherries to add a little variety to the apple pie filling. If you choose to make your own cherries instead of buying them at the store, set aside a few jars for the holidays – they make a great host or hostess gift.

Psst: Since you only need a few tablespoons of apple butter, you’ll have most of a jar left. Try using the rest in grilled cheese or on a flatbread!

Pear Ginger Crisp

Pear preserves are topped with a cinnamon-ginger crumble in this pear ginger crisp to create a simple cool-weather dessert. 

Pear ginger crisp is easy when you use your pear preserves! // #autumn #dessert #pears

Last Thursday was one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. I just couldn’t seem to do anything right. I bought ingredients for and tested a recipe for the freelance piece that was due in three weeks…and not the one due in three days. I over-baked the taquitos I wanted to freeze. I tried to make myself pancakes, and they didn’t cook through. All of this was in the course of 90 minutes…let’s just say that things didn’t pick up from there.

At one point, I realized that I couldn’t remember if i had processed my pints of pear ginger preserves for 5 minutes or 10. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided to reprocess them, just in case. You’d think I would have realized that it was not the day to take on any technical cooking projects like canning, but no. So into the water bath canner they went…with no rings. Know what happens when you forget to put on the bands? The lids pop off and your preserves get flooded with hot water, that’s what happens.

So I was left with four pints of super-diluted pear preserves. I could have drained them, added some lemon juice, and then cooked and processed them again, but I knew they would all be mush by the end. So I just drained them most of the way, stuck them in the fridge, and committed to using them within a week or so.

Since I now have so many preserves in the fridge, I decided to make myself feel better about the loss (they are my favorite preserve in the winter, and now I only have two jars!) by turning some of them into a pear ginger crisp. At least I didn’t break this recipe like all the others on that day. The pear preserves are the perfect texture for a crisp, and the cinnamon ginger topping brings out the fall flavors.

Pear ginger crisp is a quick and easy dessert when you use your pear preserves! // #autumn #fallrecipes #pears

Pear Ginger Crisp

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Pear Ginger Crisp

Pear ginger preserves are topped with a cinnamon-ginger crumble to create an easy cool-weather dessert.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 pint (2 cups) pear ginger preserves , drained


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 8" x 6" baking pan.
  2. Whisk the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, ginger and salt together. Cut in the butter using two knives, a pastry cutter or your hands until all the dry ingredients are worked in and the biggest pieces of butter are the size of coarse gravel.
  3. Pour the pears into the baking dish and spread the oat mixture in an even layer over the top.
  4. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and crumbly. Serve warm.