These intensely buttery and flaky hand pies are like a posh man’s McDonalds apple pie. If you read the recipe ahead and bake them over two days though, they can be enjoyed by anyone. And they darn well should be, because nobody should be subjected to applesauce that tastes like wall glue.
14-16 Braeburn or Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored & sliced into chunks
1 cup (275ml) apple juice
2 tbsp brandy
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 ½ cups (290g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (230g) cold, cubed butter
¼ / ½ cup (around 100ml) cup cold water plus extra for brushing
½ cup (110g) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Notes: as the apples are cooked down, it doesn’t matter which apples you choose for this recipe, just go for the ones that you believe have the best flavour.
1. Put the flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter in a food processor and pulse until breadcrumbs form. Before it forms a ball, slowly add the water – add a little extra if it feels dry, pulse until dough forms. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
2. Make the filling. Combine all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir every so often. The apples will start to break down and will eventually reach a saucy consistency. Cook for 45 minutes and mash up unbroken pieces of apple. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 2 hours until the sauce is much darker, thicker and half the amount. Transfer to a jar and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, will last there for 1 month or up to 6 months in the freezer.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out a ¼ inch thick. Take a 4/5 inch cookie cutter and cut out as many rounds as you can, you should have about 16. Place the rounds on a baking tray, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spoon 1 ½ teaspoons of apple butter in the centre of half the rounds, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap between the edges of the pastry. Brush water around the edges of rounds and place another round on top. Gently seal the dough with your fingers and create a cross in the centre using a knife. Repeat with the rest of the rounds. Place back on baking sheet, cover and and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush pies with water and then sprinkle with cinnamon before baking. Bake for 22 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool or eat warm, lasts for 3 months in the freezer or 4 days at room temperature.
Recipe and photography by Emine Hassan