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 // SavvyEat.com

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 // savvyeat.com

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!

Spiced Apple Butter

Apple Butter on savvyeat.com

It had been far too long. I made apple butter last month for the first time since 2010. It isn’t that I don’t like apple butter- far from it. Apple butter is one of the easiest preserves to use in cooking and baking. Its smooth texture allows it to melt right into whatever you’re cooking, leaving behind a warm spiced flavor and a subtle sweetness.

No, the reason it had been so long is that I majorly overdid it four autumns ago. I was new to canning, and fruit butter was so accessible as a beginner. So I made batch after batch of every kind of fruit butter I could think of – peach, blueberry, cherry and of course, apple. It was enough to last us for at least two years. Between that and the shelf-full of applesauce I made that fall, I just got completely burnt out on apple preserves. As a result, I skipped them entirely last year even though our supply was close to depletion.

By the beginning of this summer, I was back to missing smooth silky apple butter, so I chose to make a fresh batch for a recipe.com freelance piece. The recipe is based off of one from Betty Crocker and I have to say, I like it better than the one I made back in 2010. It has just the right level of fall spices so that it is flavorful without being overwhelming, and the sweeting is subtle enough that the apples can shine through.

Get the apple butter recipe here!

I’ve published some other pieces on recipe.com recently as well. Check them out!