These Vegan Apple Hand Pies are the perfect sweet treat for fall, and great for a socially-distant Thanksgiving. Made with store-bought or homemade pie crust and cinnamon-spiced apples, they’re easily eaten without utensils or with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.
Vegan Apple Hand Pies, a personal dessert for any occasion
I’ve said it before, but pie is definitely one of my favorite desserts. Growing up, I even preferred it to cake on my birthday. I also love making pies, as there are so many variations to try and a plethora of uses for pie crust.
Leading up to the holiday season this year I will be providing some smaller-batch Thanksgiving recipe ideas for those of us that are celebrating with a smaller crowd that usual. I promise that mini versions of classic dishes are just as delicious! Case in point, these apple hand pies.
How to Make Apple Hand Pies
Using a store bought crust keeps things simple, but feel free to make your own, like this recipe for a berry galette! First, prep the apples by slicing and tossing them with cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, and salt.
Then, unroll the crust and cut out two shapes: one circle slightly larger than another. These will form the top and bottom pieces of our pies.
After pressing the crusts together to seal, bake them for about 30 minutes. So easy!
What kind of apples should I use for pie?
Many people have very strong opinions about types of apples to use. Honestly, I tend to use whatever I have! For whatever reason, Granny Smith apples are typically listed as the best apples to use for pie. I am guessing that their tart flavor is what plays well with the sugar in most recipes. What I like to do is choose a mix of different apples for variety and then adjust my sugar level accordingly.
Are Gala apples good for apple pie?
Usually, Red Delicious and Gala apples should not be used for pie because they cannot withstand long cooking temperatures. These apple hand pies are baked for much less time than a traditional pie, so who knows! I have not experimented that way and cannot speak to the results. In today’s recipe I used a mix of Pink Lady (my fave) and Granny Smith.
Because these hand pies have such a hight crust-to-fruit ratio, I don’t think texture will matter as much. As you’ll see below, we are also not using any kind of traditional thickener (such as cornstarch) since it’s just not needed.
Can you freeze apple hand pies?
Yes! This recipe freezes very well. Feel free to make them 1-2 months in advance and store tightly wrapped in the freezer. Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through.
I hope you love this vegan apple hand pie recipe! If you’re looking for more pies, try one of these next:
This Apple Hand Pie recipe is the perfect sweet treat for fall, and great for a socially-distant Thanksgiving. Made with store-bought or homemade pie crust and cinnamon-spiced apples, they’re easily eaten without utensils or with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.
1 package store bought vegan pie crust (2 sheets of pastry), or homemade crust
5 medium apples, washed and sliced thinly (no need to peel, just be sure to remove seeds)
I like a mix of Granny Smith and Pink Lady
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Â 3/4cup organic cane or brown sugar, plus more for topping
3 TBS coconut milk, optional
Ice cream, for serving
If using store-bought, thaw pie crust in fridge overnight or on the counter for 2 hours until ready to use. When making your own crust, follow your favorite recipe or the one linked above. Store dough in fridge until Step 3.
Once all of your apples are washed and sliced into thin pieces, combine in a large bowl with cinnamon, optional nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sugar of choice.
If using store bought, unroll one of your pie crusts onto a clean surface or baking sheet. Keep the other in the fridge for now. When using homemade, divide your dough in half and roll out one half into a large rectangle about 9 x 13 inches (23 x 33 cm).
To cut out your pie shapes, select two glasses or cookie cutters: one about 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) wider in circumference than the other. This will be helpful as the smaller circle cutout will form the base shape of the pie, while the large circle will be the top layer. Select the smaller glass and out as many shapes as you can from pie crust #1. Be sure to re-roll scraps to maximize the number of circles you’re able to make (I got about 9 total pies in this recipe, but that will vary based on your glass size and crust thickness. No need to be too specific!). Place the small circle cut outs onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place back into the fridge. Repeat rolling + cutting process with other piece of dough, now using the large glass for cutouts. Now place the large circle cut outs onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and add into the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove cookie sheet #1 with the smaller circles. Take 1/3 cup scoops of your apple mixture (or about as much as will fit), and place on top of pie crust bottoms. Use your hands to mold as needed so that the fruit forms a dome. Repeat with all circles. It’s OK if you have apple left over, just set that aside for now.*
Now, remove pie crust tops on cookie sheet #2 from fridge. Carefully mold the tops of the pies onto each small circle, taking care to not break the crust too much and making sure to cover apple completely. Sometimes it is helpful to dampen the edges of the crust with water so that they adhere more easily. Alternatively, use a fork to crimp the edges sealed. Use a knife to poke small vents in the top of each pie for steam to escape.
If desired, brush the tops of the pies with coconut milk to encourage browning. Sprinkle pies with more sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check at the 30 minute mark and if they are not yet golden, wait 5 more minutes before removing from oven. Let cool and serve (either like a traditional hand pie or with a scoop of ice cream on the side.
*If I overestimate the number of apples needed, I like to bake them in a quick crumble alongside the pies. To do this, combine: 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter or neutral oil into a crumble topping. Add apples to a baking dish and spread crumble topping across the top. Feel free to refrigerate any leftover topping for later use. Bake in the oven with the pies if desired, and remove once browned and crispy, about 40 mins.
Serving Size:1 pie
Keywords: pie, apple, thanksgiving, fall, hand pie, dessert
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. I am a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan, but I do not focus on labels - I focus on creating food that everyone can enjoy. I earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. Meet me here.