Apple Butter Hand Pies

September 18, 2011

<insert cliche sentiment about loving autumn here> Because Lord knows I do!

I have been in a cooking funk because I want to make Fall foods like apple pie and pumpkin soup, but it has been TOO WARM. Until this week, that is. It was a big week. My parents visited (hooray!) and we had a great time. Hey parents!

We had a picnic with friends and I made these delicious hand pies my friend Katherine introduced me to a few years ago. Sweet, tangy apple butter hides inside a cookie-like, crunchy, cream cheese-based crust. They were a huge hit.

Yesterday, we went to Oktoberfest. My friends Amy, Kristina, and Reed and I ran the Das Hustlehoff 5K–a race celebrating David Hasselhoff and Germans–where we won the costume competition. Here we are receiving our commemorative beer stein trophies.

I hope all of you are enjoying your September. And if you’re looking for a delicious fall treat, these apple butter hand pies are perfect. I might even call them wunderbar…

APPLE BUTTER HAND PIES (from Martha Stewart Living, October 1996)


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups apple butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer or an electric mixer for 5 minutes until fluffy. Add egg and beat until just combined.
  2. Beat cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a separate bowl,  then add to the cream-cheese mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined. Transfer dough onto a square of Saran wrap, and press dough into a 1-inch thick patty using our hands. Refrigerate at least one hour if using immediately, or place in freezer and keep up to one month if using later.
  3. Divide dough in half. Roll one half out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut circles out of the dough using a 4.5 inch biscuit cutter. Place circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Continue rolling, cutting, and chilling the dough until both halves of dough are used up.
  4. Remove dough circles from fridge and allow them to defrost until they just able to bend a bit (about 2-3 minutes). Place about 2 tablespoons apple butter onto one half of each circle of dough. Spread apple butter into a semicircle shape until it is about 1/2 inch from the edge. Be careful not to flatten out the apple butter completely. Brush a small bit of ice cold water around the edge of the dough, and fold it in half to make a semicircle. Press edges of hand pie together with your fingers of the back of a fork. Repeat process until all dough circles are sealed. remaining dough. Place hand pies back on parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove chilled hand pies from the fridge, brush them with a bit of cold water. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over pies. Place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until they are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool just a bit before serving.

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