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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Transfer each strip of pastry to a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).
- Add the filling to each piece of pastry, on one side only.
- Brush the sides with egg wash and fold over the other side of the dough, then pinch together the two halves.
- 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.
More apple desserts and recipes I love
- Apple cider cake with mascarpone frosting (A beautiful Fall layer cake with maple mascarpone.)
- Apple smoothie with oats (A fiber-rich and filling breakfast.)
- Soft apple oatmeal cookies (Chewy, soft and delicious!)
- Easy apple margarita (Perfect for Fall holidays.)
- Cinnamon apple soft granola (I love this in yogurt, yum!)
- Caramelized apple yogurt parfaits (Another easy and no bake recipe perfect for Fall.)
Easy apple hand pies with puff pastry
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Last updated: September 25, 2023