Easy apple hand pies with puff pastry

When I want a quick apple dessert that’s satisfying I reach for this simple recipe for Easy apple hand pies with puff pastry. Nothing beats the convenience of puff pastry sheets. Combined with grated cinnamon apples that bake into a juicy apple sauce like filling, I never find myself missing the traditional apple pie. Mini puff pastry apple pies are just as good and much easier to put together.

puff pastry apple hand pies on a plate

These puff pastry hand pies are essentially apple turnovers, but shaped like pop tarts. They’re made with long rectangular cuts of puff pastry, with a filling placed on one side and the other side of dough turned over, pinched together with the bottom layer and baked. 

The rectangular shape leaves more space for ice cream. Which is how I like to serve these when they are still warm. There’s something very satisfying about the way the ice cream melts into a puddle over the flaky puff pastry and gooey apple filling.

I also like to save some to be enjoyed cold. The apple filling firms up in the safe hug of a pastry shell, resembling a puff pastry apple strudel. I then dust each individual apple pie with powdered sugar. Half of the fun in eating these is getting powdered sugar all over my face. I take it as a sign of a good pastry.

sliced puff pastry apple hand pie

Why I love this recipe

  • Puff pastry: Few things are as good and as convenient as buttery and flaky puff pastry. I love to buy fresh pre-rolled sheets and keep them on hand to make a quick dessert just like these puff pastry mini pies.
  • Classic Fall ingredients: A mix of juicy apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon is everything I love about Fall. They remind me of my childhood, as silly as that may sound.
  • Freezer friendly: Yes, you can freeze these! Puff pastry apple hand pies make a great sweet breakfast on the go.
  • The size: I love hand pies so much. They’re easy to serve and store. I make mine quite big for a mini pie, big enough to cover my hand. But you can make them even smaller if you wish and double the servings without doubling the recipe. 
  • Easy and quick: These are so easy to put together. You’ll be done with everything in less than an hour. That’s pretty impressive for a dessert I think. 

Best apples for pie

Many pie recipes, especially American recipes, call for Granny Smith apples. They are tart and sturdy, perfect for baking a tall pie that holds together for days.

However in Slovenia we tend to use sweeter apples for pie or a mix of varieties. I often use apples like Golden Delicious (which are more semi-sweet), Gala (very sweet) and Jonagold. Here’s a good article with an apple chart from The Kitchn, to help you with your apple picking. 

The key in making amazing mini apple pies with puff pastry is grating the apples. It’s a trick well known to any Slovenian, as we grate apples for our classic apple pie and for apple strudel. Grated apples are great as they cook quickly. This is also important for baking with puff pastry as it puffs up and gets golden fast, so you need a filling that doesn’t require much cooking and can be done by the time the dough is baked.

The grated apples mix and melt into lemon zest, cinnamon and sugar, resulting in a juicy sweet filling that is reminiscent of chunky apple sauce. Once you do it this way, it’s hard to consider any other method of making mini apple pies. 

close view of sliced apple pie with puff pastry

Tips on assembly

I keep praising apples for being juicy and although really wonderful, the juices do make the assembly a little tricky especially when combined with pastry sheets. See, the one criticism I have for pre-rolled puff pastry sheets is that they’re rolled pretty thinly. If you were to use frozen puff pastry, you can roll it out a bit thicker.

But with already rolled sheets, I’ve had to come up with a new system. Because the apples do get kind of heavy and I don’t want to risk tearing apart the dough. And I also love a well-filled pastry. That’s why I finish assembling the pies on a baking sheet. Here are all the steps: 

  1. First, generously flour your work surface and lay a sheet of puff pastry on top. Dust it with flour and slice it into long rectangular strips.
  2. Transfer each strip of pastry to a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).
  3. Add the filling to each piece of pastry, on one side only.
  4. Brush the sides with egg wash and fold over the other side of the dough, then pinch together the two halves.
  5. Brush with more egg wash, sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake. 

Tips on freezing

Once your puff pastry pies are completely cool, wrap each apple hand pie in plastic wrap or parchment paper and place it in a freezer bag or container. They will last up to two months in the freezer. And they thaw beautifully without losing their shape or flavor. The crust won’t be as crisp as a typical pastry is, it’ll be a bit softer, but still very delicious.

baked apple hand pies on a plate

More apple desserts and recipes I love

baked apple pies on a plate

Easy apple hand pies with puff pastry

Made with easy store-bought puff pastry and a mixture of grated apples, these are baked quickly and produce a flaky buttery pie with a juicy cinnamon apple filling. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 4 large apples, roughly 1.5 lbs or 700g
  • 2/3 cup (140 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado or Demerara sugar

Instructions

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 395°F (200°C). 
  • Peel and coarsely grate the apples (I use a box grater). Transfer shredded apples to a sieve placed over a bowl, sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and let sit like that. Combine the rest of sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and cinnamon in a medium bowl, set aside. 
  • Flour your work surface, roll out your first sheet of puff pastry on top. Sprinkle it with flour, making sure you have no wet patches as this makes it easier to handle. Cut pastry into 4 equal strips then transfer them to the baking sheet. Brush the edges with a beaten egg. 
  • Take the apples and fold them into the sugar mixture, mix until all apples are covered. Place about 2 spoonfuls of this onto one side of each pastry strip, leaving a border all around. If any juices flood the pastry, that's okay.
  • Fold the empty side of the dough over the filled side, seal the edges with a fork, brush each pie with egg and sprinkle with some turbinado sugar. Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry is puffy and golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving.
  • As the first batch bakes, repeat the process with the second sheet of pastry. Keep uneaten pies covered either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months. 

Notes

 
  • I like to use fresh, already rolled sheets of puff pastry that I get at my store. You can use frozen too, but allow to completely thaw before baking. Puff pastry sheets come in different sizes so you can adjust the number of pies you want to make. The weight of 2 sheets is usually around 17-18 oz (500g). One sheet, on average, makes 4 hand pies. You can make 8 mini hand pies if you cut the sheets even smaller. 
  • You can serve these warm too, with some ice cream. 
  • Eat leftover pies within 2 days. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Alice
Text recipe Pin Recipe

Last updated: September 25, 2023

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19 Comments

  1. Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen wrote:

    These look perfect, I love that you grated the apples – I’m going to try that next time. And oh my gosh – I cannot wait for the revival!

    Posted 10.27.16 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Thanks! Let me know if you try it. 🙂
      And yesss, less than a month to go, yay.

      Posted 10.28.16
  2. mary wrote:

    Apple pies look great. I often make pastry puffs with raspberry jam or fresh raspberries and cream fill them so was thinking along those lines. I live in a retirement village and I’m on dessert duty to make apple pies for approx.35 tomorrow night. Hopefully I will post a favorable report soon after that

    Posted 4.5.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Thank you, Mary. I love raspberries and cream, that has to taste really good!
      And that is quite a task, however I think you’ll pull it off. Do report back if you can 🙂

      Posted 4.5.18
  3. mary wrote:

    As above

    Posted 4.5.18 Reply
  4. anna wrote:

    do you use room temperature puff pastry or use it chilled when making your turnovers?

    Posted 9.19.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi Anna, I keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. I find it’s easier to work with chilled puff pastry.

      Posted 9.19.18
  5. Karl Peterson wrote:

    I must apologize – I added raisins… But otherwise, this is a very straightforward recipe that yields a very satisfying result, so thanks very much for that. I haven’t actually bitten into a pie yet (yes, I know, great self-control, lol). But I am betting they are fabulous. They certainly look fabulous!

    Posted 10.27.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      That is indeed great self control, haha!
      Happy to hear these turned out so well for you Karl and no need to apologize about the raisins :))

      Posted 10.27.18
  6. Nancy McDonough wrote:

    Looks so Delicious

    Posted 11.7.19 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      thank you, Nancy!

      Posted 11.8.19
  7. Devonte wrote:

    Great ideas

    Will be part of my holidays

    Posted 11.19.19 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      happy to hear that!

      Posted 11.20.19
  8. Debbie wrote:

    This hand-pie recipe is easy and satisfyingly delicious. So glad I found your site and this recipe. I had and used Wewalka Puff Pastry (Walmart) which is 13.2 oz for one sheet. I unrolled it and cut it into 6 rectangles across the long side (2” – 2 1/2” wide). I was a little worried when juices started leaking out as I was sealing them but once in the oven, they sealed right up and didn’t leak further. Since I baked them on parchment paper, they didn’t stick. Mine took 20 mins @ 395 to develop a rich brown look; I’m guessing because the pastry is a bit thicker. I had a lot of apple mix left over and decided to simmer it on the stove while the pies were puffing. The result is a thick jam-like consistency which I refrigerated and plan to spoon right into the next batch of hand pies for a super-fast weekend wake-up. Can’t wait. Thank you!

    Posted 5.30.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Thank you for sharing, Debbie! I’m so happy you enjoyed this 🙂
      And that leftover filling sounds delicious!!

      Posted 5.30.20
  9. Malcolm wrote:

    5 stars
    First of all an excellent recipe, I enjoyed and understood the reasoning to get the delicious end result. I used 6 gala apples , shredded, added cloves, nutmeg and cardamom, omitted the egg and lemon zest…Great recipe…Thank you

    Posted 7.27.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Wow that sounds so delicious, cardamom and nutmeg, yum!

      Thank you, Malcom! 🙂

      Posted 7.27.20
  10. Elena wrote:

    5 stars
    It was a disaster! The apple filling came out great. I had alot of difficulty with phylo!! Thawed overnight. Was to dry , kept tearing, moistened with towel, then to sticky!! All mushy!!

    Posted 10.28.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi Elena,
      the recipe calls for puff pastry sheets not phyllo. They are two very different types of dough. Phyllo will dry out and tear if left out in the open, which is what you describe.

      Posted 10.28.20