These Southern Fried Apple Hand Pies are easy to make using either homemade or store bought pie crust or biscuit dough. Make them the day before and fry them up fresh in the morning for a wonderful treat!
What is a hand pie?
When we moved to North Carolina, a local gentleman asked me to make something called “Apple Jacks.” These yummy Southern Fried Apple Hand Pies are small pieces of dough with a dollop of apple filling, then crimped and fried. They are an old-fashioned tradition here in the South. Fresh out of the fryer, they are beyond delicious.
Do I have to make homemade pie crust?
I make them using homemade pie crust. But if want to fuss with homemade crust you can use Pillsbury refrigerated biscuit dough or refrigerated pie crust. Doing a little research, I found that many old-time Southern cooks made these little hand pies with biscuit dough. But, I think you’ll love them with the pie crust. Years ago, when ladies made these, they certainly were not using store-bought crusts. First off, they likely did not have the disposable income that many of us have today nor did they have access to convenience products such as these. Traditionally, making these sort of apple pies, they would have used dried apple pieces, mixing those with water, sugar and cinnamon to make sort of an thick apple sauce.
What type of apples are good for hand pies?
I personally love a combination of Granny Smith and either Macoun or Macintosh. This brings the perfect amount of texture and flavor.
Can I make the pies ahead of time?
Absolutely! I make them the night before and slightly overlap them on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover the entire sheet pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. This also makes the pie dough super cold when you fry them, helping them become perfectly flaky.
You can even freeze them. Thaw in the fridge, uncovered. If you leave them covered with plastic wrap after being frozen, they end up with too much condensation. So just remove the plastic wrap and they’ll thaw perfectly overnight.
Make a big batch of the apple filling and let it cool completely. You can even make this a few days ahead of time to save time! I like to make it the night before I assemble apple hand pies, so it’s completely cooled and ready to go!
As you create each apple hand pie, place them on a half sheet pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. I will typically overlap them just a tad and be able to fit about 5-6 hand pies in each row, with a total of 3 rows per sheet pan. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and get that tray in the fridge right away! You’ll fry them right out of the fridge, which keeps the hand pies super cold and will help you to achieve a very flaky crust!
Southern Fried Apple Hand Pies
- Pie filling:
- 5 medium/large apples Honeycrisp
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Homemade pie crust or biscuit dough
Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces. Melt the butter in a 10-12 inch fry pan. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle with brown sugar and sugar while they cook. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally, making sure they do not burn. Sprinkle with cornstarch once they are almost done and let cook to thicken the apples and juice.
Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and stir to combine. Let the pie filling cool completely.
Roll out your biscuit dough or pie crust on a lightly floured surface, into 4-6 inch ovals, about 1/8-1/4-inch thick. Scoop about 1 tablespoon or so of the cooled pie filing in the center of each round. Fold over, lightly press down on the filling and the edges. (Lightly wet edges with water, using your fingertip if needed) Crimp the edges of the dough with a floured fork. Place uncooked pies on a half-sheet pan which is lined with parchment paper.
Fill a fry pan with about 2-3 inches of canola oil. Heat the oil until very hot. Place only a few hand pies in the hot oil at a time, as to not overcrowd the pan or let the oil cool. Fry until they are brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the hot oil and let drain on paper towels on a half-sheet pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar or dust with powdered sugar while they are still warm.
These are best served warm.
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