These Apple Hand Pies would make a great fall dessert.

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Makes 12 pies

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup rum, brandy or water

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

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4 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup toasted pecan pieces

Prepared pie dough (see accompanying recipe)

1 beaten egg

Coarse or decorating sugar for garnishing the pies

1. In a small saucepan, combine the raisins with the rum, brandy or water, and heat over medium heat until the raisins are softened and plump. Drain the raisins before adding to the apples.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, just until the apple starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes (the slices should still be crisp). Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and toasted pecans. Spread the apple mixture onto a baking sheet to stop the cooking process and allow the apples to cool quickly, then cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes about 4 cups filling, slightly more than is needed for 12 pies.

3. Divide the prepared pie dough into 12 even pieces, and shape each into a small disk. On a lightly floured board, carefully roll each piece into a circle about 6 inches in diameter and about one-eighth-inch thick. The dough will be flaky and will probably crack on the edges; without working the dough too much, gently mold the dough with your hands as it’s rolled to form as perfect a circle as possible. Carefully set the circle aside and continue rolling until all of the circles are formed.

4. Brush the inside of each circle with a very light coating of beaten egg, going all the way to the edge of the circle. Place roughly one-fourth cup of the apple filling in the center of each circle, slightly off to one side (to make it easier to fold over the dough to form the hand pie), but leaving a 1-inch border around the edge on one side. Carefully — this can be tricky — fold over half of the dough, lining the edges up to form a half-circle; you may need to support the dough as it’s folded over to keep it from cracking. Gently press the edges down with the tines of a fork to seal the pie.

5. Place the prepared pies on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate them, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

6. Remove the chilled pies and brush them with the egg wash. Use a small knife to slash 2 to 3 small steam vents in the top of each pie. Dust each pie with a sprinkling of coarse sugar.

7. Bake the pies, 1 sheet at a time (refrigerate the other sheet until ready to bake), on the center rack until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pies halfway through baking for even coloring. Cool on a rack. The pies can be served warm or at room temperature.

From Noelle Carter, the Los Angeles Times

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