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!
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.
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.