Serves a Crowd

Rhubarb and Apple Hand Pies

May 13, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes 24, 3-inch pies
Author Notes

These tiny pies are the perfect portable dessert for all of your spring and summer picnics. Rhubarb can tend to break down quite a bit when it is cooked so I added some chopped apples to this recipe for texture and flavor. This recipe will make about 24 small hand pies, but can easily be cut in half for a more modestly sized batch. You can also make the pies smaller or larger depending on your preference. —Yossy Arefi

What You'll Need
  • Crust
  • 24 ounces all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 18 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 6-8 ounces ice cold water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Rhubarb and Apple Filling
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks
  • 2 medium baking apples, mutsus work well here
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4-6 tablespoons sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • egg for egg wash
  • crunchy sugar such as turbinado or demerara for sprinkling
  1. Crust
  2. To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in half of the butter until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix the water in until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
  1. Rhubarb and Apple Filling
  2. If your rhubarb has leaves attached remove them (they are inedible and poisonous) then chop the rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel the apples and chop them into slightly smaller pieces.
  3. Add the chopped rhubarb, 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, butter, and vanilla bean seeds and pod to a large skillet. Cook until the rhubarb has released most of its juices and the juices have thickened, about 7-10 minutes. The rhubarb should become jammy in texture. Cool the mixture to room temperature, remove the vanilla bean pod then add the chopped apples and flour and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and if it seems too tart add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. To Assemble the pies: Preheat oven to 400ºF. One at a time, roll each piece of chilled dough roughly 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a 3-inch circle cutter to cut as many circles as possible from the dough. Re-roll the scraps and cut more circles.
  5. Put half of the circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brush the edges of the dough with a beaten egg. Add about 1 tablespoon of filling to each piece of dough, making sure that there is a small border of bare dough around the filling. Top each pie with another piece of dough and press the edges to seal well. Put the entire baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Check to make sure all of the pies are well sealed.
  6. Brush the pies with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie for ventilation. Bake until deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mary Thompson Fulton
    Mary Thompson Fulton
  • Karen
  • kumalavula
  • Franceska
  • Nancy
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at &

22 Reviews

cpc May 13, 2020
I used 5T of sugar in the rhubarb and it was quite tart but we loved it. I didn’t peel my apples and it didn’t affect the finished pies at all. I would, however, chop my apple pieces smaller next time. It was a bit difficult stretching the top crust over the filling to crimp the edges. I didn’t want to waste an egg so I brushed the crusts with milk before sprinkling the sugar on and popping them in the oven. It worked like a charm. I just wish I had a biscuit cutter one size larger. These were quite small and flattened out quite a bit in the oven. My son thought they were cookies.
Mary T. June 17, 2015
Delicious! My sister made these for us at work today. Superb.
I live in south Georgia, so rhubarb is not really available and when it is, it's not appealing. I would like to make these with blueberries and peaches. Any suggestions as to amounts and spices?
cpc May 13, 2020
That becomes a different recipe. There are probably peach/blueberry pie recipes here on Food52
Karen April 26, 2015
Thanks everyone!
kumalavula April 26, 2015
i impressed myself with these. i used a device i bought years ago, from the pampered chef, to crimp and seal them. it worked perfectly. and instead of apples, i made a fruit mixture of rhubarb, pears and candied ginger. when they cam out of the oven, looking almost identical to the photos above, i was so pleased. and they tasted, well......mighty good! i can see a lot of variations on this theme.
Franceska May 30, 2014
Are these measurements weight or volume?
ldnmama September 25, 2014
yeah i was just wondering the same thing. since the liquids were in ounces as well i assumed volume. anyone else want to weigh in on this?
ldnmama September 25, 2014
it must be a mix, how bizarre and frustrating.
Nancy May 19, 2014
I love lemon curd. I'm wondering if you could fill with the curd, and would that change the baking time/temp?
Yossy A. May 24, 2014
Hi Nancy, I think lemon curd might be too liquid to use in these pies, but I've never tried so I can't say for sure.
marietta B. May 19, 2014
rhubarb and apple - not my most obvious choice but I'll give it a try!
Horto May 18, 2014
pop tarts!

Sophie L. May 18, 2015
De luxe pop tarts ;-)
Ceege May 18, 2014
Wondering if I could substitute other fruits. My family will not eat rhubarb (even mixed with other fruit such as strawberries). Could I possibly use strawberries, blueberries or apples for these wonderful looking hand pies? If so would I still use the same amount of fruit to replace the rhubarb, such as 1 lb. blueberries? Also, would I still add the 2 baking apples if I change the main fruit. I want to try the recipe and then possibly make them for a church picnic we have coming up next month. Thanks for your help.
Yossy A. May 24, 2014
Hi Ceege, this recipe was developed using rhubarb so I am not sure about substitutions. There are lots of other hand pie recipes around, so I bet you could find one that uses the specific fruit you'd like to use.
Karen May 18, 2014
Wondering if the filling and crust could be frozen separately successfully. How handy it would be to make up pies as needed.
Yossy A. May 18, 2014
Hi Karen, I'm not sure. Although, I bet you could fully assemble the pies then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer them to a ziploc bag for storage. Then you could bake them straight from the freezer, I think :)
marietta B. May 19, 2014
Yossy and Karen-I have frozen fruit hand pies assembled-exactly as you described-and they freeze GREAT!
scootermagoo May 19, 2014
Marietta - Do you bake them at the same temperature and time called for in the recipe or do you bake them differently because they are frozen?
marietta B. May 19, 2014
I bake them at the same temp, but just a little longer. Usually I top with a glaze of egg - or milk - and sprinkle sugar on top. I also put an air vent of some sort - a fork tine or a few slices of the tip of a knife. I keep my eye on them, baking til brown on top and around the edges, and fruit is bubbling.
scootermagoo May 22, 2014
Thank you!