Apple Butter Hand Pies
If you're curious how I came by the need to use up epic quantities of apple butter by fabricating hand pies, you can catch up with parts 1 and 2 of The Great Apple Butter Experiment.
If you just happen to have apple butter on hand and want to do something besides enjoying it on toast/pancakes/waffles/ham/pork chops/in pumpkin bread/with a spoon, read on...
|Did somebody say sensory diet?|
Though I openly worship at the shrine of Martha, I did not use her recipe on this particular project. I already had the apple butter and I already had a preferred pie crust recipe.
Pie Crust versus Hand Pie Crust
When I decided to make apple butter hand pies I had recently fabricated nearly 200 mini pasties for a Halloween party (pumpkin pie, apple and a traditional vegetable beef. Yes, it was totally worth it.).
|Tasty, tasty heavy work.|
Thing is, I made them with a
If you're confident working with typical pie crust then by all means, go for it. I can personally attest that the tender, flaky results are worth the effort.
But if you are not either A) experienced with pie crust, or B) a certifiable foodie, then Imma recommend you check out Alton Brown's hand pie crust recipe.
Step 1: Crust
Make a bunch of pie crust. Hand pies are labor intensive, so I won't do less than a quadruple batch. I want plenty to freeze for later so I can experience the pleasure of eating one without hours of work.
I'm a big fan of the food processor for blitzing up pie crust. My processor easily holds a double recipe, so I can have 4 to 6 crusts worth of dough (depending on how motivated I'm feeling that day) thrown together in under 15 minutes.
I recommend prepping all the dough rounds before you start filling. I do this in batches, stacking the rounds between wax paper in the fridge.
Step 2: Filling and Shaping
|Mixing egg wash for fine motor practice|
- use less filling than you think you need
- leave the edges clean so the pie will seal
- a little egg wash for glue
- gently press the air out as you fold over
- cut a steam hole
|Why yes, this IS too much filling|
If you don't have one just do what I do the other 90% of the time I'm making variously sized hand pies - fold over and gently crimp with a fork.
|Bake or freeze? Eat or save?|
Until you've had a lot of practice, you'll probably find the assembled pies start to get overly squishy waiting for the pan to fill. When this happens I stash the pan in the freezer and simply move the newly assembled pies to it as I complete each one. And it probably goes without saying that I only bring a couple of dough rounds out of the fridge at a time.
Because the apple butter doesn't offer resistance like other fillings, it can be a pain to cut the steam holes without squishing the pie. I like to let them firm up in the freezer just a bit before cutting the holes. The trick, of course, is not forgetting to cut the steam holes before they freeze solid.
|So excited to eat it we forgot to take a picture first|
I like to bake off about a half dozen and freeze the rest. That way we don't eat ourselves silly and have hand pies at the drop of a hat for weeks.
I love to pop one on my small stoneware pan and stick it in the toaster oven. Paired with some warm cider or hot chocolate, you have the perfect snack for kids getting off the bus on a cold day. Or bake off several in the oven for the whole family to enjoy after a Saturday afternoon of sledding.
I can't offer a reliable count on yield because it depends on how big you make your pies. I get roughly four 6" pies from each individual pie crust batch. I used about 16 ounces of apple butter to make about 16 pies (which makes sense now that I think about it - 2 Tbsp is a reasonable filling quantity for a 6" pie).
If you are going to have the kids help build hand pies there's one last piece of advice I have to offer: make sure you've got more jars on hand than you think you need. I used two jars to make the pies... and Bear simultaneously ate two jars. Because all that sensory diet stuff works up an appetite.