Last-Minute Fall Hand Pies

November 22, 2015
9 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes about 1 dozen hand pies
Author Notes

Around the holidays, love to make hand pies in lieu of big pies. They're perfect for a casual Friendsgiving, for drop-in guests, or for day-after-the-party breakfasts. Each recipe for filling is enough to fill a double batch of my all-butter pie dough recipe, but it will work with any favorite recipe for double-crust pie dough. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • Apple Filling
  • 2 apples, peeled and finely chopped (454 g)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (107 g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (3 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (2 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (1 g)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (8 g)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Pumpkin Filling
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin (165 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (3 g)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (71 g)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (9 g)
  • 1 egg (57 g)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Cranberry Filling
  • 1 cup prepared cranberry sauce (296 g)
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar (48 g)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2x recipe All Buttah Pie Dough (
  • egg wash, as needed for finishing
  • turbinado sugar, as needed for finishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Each filling recipe will fill the dough for a double crust pie that's rolled out into hand pies instead! If you want to make multiple flavors, you can cut the filling recipes down or increase the amount of pie dough you’re making.
  3. To make the apple filling: In a medium bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, vanilla, brown sugar, spices, flour, and salt to combine. Set aside.
  4. To make the pumpkin filling: in a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, vanilla, brown sugar, spices, egg, and salt to combine. Set aside.
  5. To make the cranberry filling: In a medium bowl, stir the cranberry sauce, sugar, orange zest, allspice, and salt to combine. Set aside.
  6. To make the hand pies: roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Use a cutter or a straight edge and pastry wheel to cut the dough into 12 to 18 even pieces. I cut the dough into squares for the apple pies (then folded them in half to make triangles), rectangles for the cranberry pies, and circles for the pumpkin. You can do any shape (or a combination to help differentiate flavors!).
  7. Transfer the cut out dough to the prepared parchment sheets, leaving at least 1/3 inch in between each. Spoon 2 tablespoons of desired filling into the center of each piece of dough. Refrigerate the trays.
  8. Roll out the remaining half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut the dough into the same number of the same shapes you cut out previously.
  9. Remove the trays from the fridge, and lightly brush the edge of each piece of dough around the filling with cool water. Top each with a second piece of dough and press lightly all around the edges to seal.
  10. Dip a fork into all-purpose flour and use it to crimp the edges. Be firm to make sure they are well sealed, and dip into more flour whenever things look sticky.
  11. Refrigerate the assembled hand pies until very cold (10 minutes in the freezer or 15 to 20 in the refrigerator). Brush the hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  12. Cut vents into the hand pies: I like to use different designs for the different flavors, but you can do whatever you like. I made one large line and two smaller lines at an angle for the triangle apple pies, tiny X’s for the round pumpkin pies, and three even lines for the rectangular cranberry pies.
  13. Bake until deeply golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cranky
  • BerryBaby
  • julia boyd
    julia boyd
  • Smaug
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

9 Reviews

Cranky February 11, 2021
Made the ones with apple a couple of times already and they turned out great!
pattk1220 September 6, 2019
These look lovely, but would you please share more vegetarian (better yet, vegan) handpie recipes? Of course, that won't stop me from making these, especially the pumpkin ones.
pattk1220 September 6, 2019
I meant to say "savory recipes" in my request. I must be keyboard -challenged today ...
Lisa B. October 20, 2017
At what point could you freeze these for later?
Smaug May 14, 2023
I generally freeze hand pies before baking (always best when freshly baked), but I use precooked fillings. I bake them right from the freezer; in a convection oven, preheat to 425, put in pies (straight from the freezer), reduce to 365 deg. and bake 22-25 min.
BerryBaby October 9, 2017
They sound delicious but a lot of ingredients and steps involved.
Last minute to me is using premade dough, puffed pastry is my choice, slice up apples coat them in sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and pop it in the oven! There are details but making a suggestion for truly Last Minute.
julia B. December 2, 2015
@bascula....I think the "last minute" aspect refers to the fact that - you use prepared cranberry sauce, pumpkin purée, apples, and pie dough ~ things that you may well have on hand if you are getting ready to cook and bake for Thanksgiving. I highly recommend these - they are wonderful and this baker is top notch !!!
Bascula December 1, 2015
These look delish, but I can't see calling anything about them "last minute"!
lisa December 7, 2015
I agree! Nothing last minute about them.