Apple Butter Hand Pies

I started this recipe by reading through Martha’s Pies and Tarts that Jonathan gave me for my birthday.  Having never made apple butter before, I was quite nervous about how it would turn out.  However, it turned out rather well.  To make this recipe I used my Dad’s last three remaining apples from the fruit drawer.  It was worth it, and Dad took apple butter hand pies to work for lunch instead of apples.  The cream cheese in the crust made the crust more cookie-like in texture, which was excellent.  There was left over apple butter since I made a half batch of the crust.  With the extra apple butter you could use it on toast for breakfast the next day.  The apple butter pies disappeared quickly and were a nice change from the many cupcakes that I bake.

Dough (I cut this recipe in half, except the egg, I put the whole egg in)

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of apple butter (instructions to follow)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg to the sugar-butter mixture, and beat until just blended.
  2. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and add to the cream-cheese mixture. Beat until completely blended. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, and using your hands, press the dough into a 1-inch-thick patty, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least one hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.
  3. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.
  4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons apple butter onto one half of each circle of dough. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, spread out apple butter. Keep apple butter on half the circle, and spread until it is about 1/2 inch from the edge, making sure apple butter is not completely flattened. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the apple butter, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with cold water. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

Apple Butter

3 organic apples peeled, cored and sliced into small pieces.

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup of apple juice or apple cider

1 tbsp sherry

2 tbsp of maple syrup


  1. Combine apples, apple cider, sherry, cinnamon, sugar, and maple syrup, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place mixture over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  When the apples are soft enough you will be able to mash any large pieces of apple with large wooden spoon to help them break down.
  2. Put apple mixture in the blender and use pulsing motions.  The apple butter should be a little bit chunky but not too thin like applesauce.  If apple butter is too thin after being in the blender, then put it back in the pot and simmer until it is the desired consistency.
  3. Let cool.

7 responses

  1. Mmm, fantastic idea! I don’t often make handpies, and now I’m not sure why. I actually have lots of little dough scraps from previous projects, so your timing is impeccable. Apple butter never goes out of season if you ask me!

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