Spicy apple hand pies made with homemade apple butter and cassava flour, so they are gluten-free, vegan, and dairy free. Also easy to make and a delicious apple cinnamon treat.
Spicy Apple Hand Pies
Apple hand pies are little secret packages, perfect to hand around at a holiday brunch or party.
I usually fill mine with a version of my famous homemade apple butter recipe here. It is a spicy apple mixture that falls between a smooth apple butter, and a chunk apple pie mixture. And it works perfectly for these little pies.
Or sometimes I’ll just throw together a simple apple filling. I provide both recipes below.
Cassava Flour Adds Fiber to Baked Goods
The star, however, is the crust. It is gluten-free, paleo and even Whole30, why? Because I used a flour I have been wanting to try for a long time, Cassava flour.
Cassava flour is made from the cassava root, and is the result of that root being peeled, dried and ground. Although tapioca flour is also made from the cassava root, tapioca is actually only an extracted starch and only contributes as a filler.
Cassava flour is perfect for baking as it is considered a whole nutritious food that even retains fiber. And the flour has been making a name for itself recently and is perfect for gluten-free and nut-free baking.
I used Bob’s Red Mill‘s brand of Cassava flour and that’s because you really want to choose a high-quality source. I trust that Bob’s will have removed the cyanide that can be present in this flour raw, and that it won’t get moldy over time.
So grab yourself some Cassava flour and let’s get pie-making!
How to Make Gluten Free Apple Hand Pies
I used a simple three-ingredient pie crust recipe that requires some doctoring on your part regarding how much water to add — you will need to adjust depending on your humidity and temperature of your water, but you’ll get there..
Once you have your crust made and rolled out (use a lot of cassava on the rolling table or parchment paper), use a round cookie cutter to cut circles…I used a three inch one for the bottom circle, and larger one for the top.
THEN…put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and go make your apple butter filling.
I love this apple butter, and have made it with both green apples (tart) and pink lady (sweeter), so you decided the apple type you want to use.
Finally, blend it up, or process. You want a puree, spice it as you wish..and dollop onto half your crust circles.
Cover the filled circles with another pie circle, and use a fork to crimp the edges. If you did not cut out a center star, you need to puncture the top circle with something to release the steam. You can actually do this before you top it with a fancy mini cookie cutter shape, or you can just jab it with a fork..depends on how fancy you are feeling today.
Paint with water, sprinkle with sparkling sugar and cinnamon, and bake!
Wait ’til cool to eat, or not, haha.!
FAQS About Apple Hand Pies
- Where do hand pies come from?
- The history of hand pies dates back to the 1800s in England when miners would traditionally have a savory hand pie packed in their lunch. Over time, the pies turned to desserts.
- What is best pie crust for hand pies?
- There are so many ways to make a crust that the best is what is best for you! I use cassava here to make a gluten free crust, but of course there are plenty of traditional recipes that use white flour.
- What are the best apples to make a pie?
- I prefer less sweet apples such as green, but I have friends who prefer sweeter apples such as pink ladies
- How to fold a hand pie?
- Since my method is to create circles of pastry and cover with the same sized circles, there is no folding involved. But you could make larger circles, fill half and fold over if you wanted to make crescent shaped hand pies instead of circles.
- Can you bake apple pie the day before?
- Not only can you, but you should. Once you have made the crust and filled the hand pies, you should bake right away. If you were to try to save the raw filled crusts overnight, they would become soggy.
Bake, chill and re-heat to serve.
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Spicy Apple Hand Pies
Cassava Flour Pie Crust (Makes 2 pie crusts)
- 1 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 2/3 cup organic palm shortening
- 6-10 tbsp ice water
Simple Apple Pie Filling
Apple Butter (optional, creamier filling)
- 2 green apples
- 10 cashews (soaked overnight and rinsed)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple cider
- 1 tsp orange juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- pinch ground cloves
Make the Pie Crusts
- Pour the flour into a sieve, and shake into large mixing bowl. Or use a sifter.Add the shortening, and use two forks or a pastry cutter to chop up the shortening into the flour and make sure both are combined only roughly. Chunks of shortening are fine..
Next, add water to the dough two tablespoons at a time, kneading with flour coated hands in between. You want to achieve a mallable pie crust that can be molded into a ball.
- Once you have the pie crust texture that you want, press that ball onto a flour-coated sheet of parchment and roll it out about 1/4 inch thick.Cut circles using a three-inch cookie cutter for half, and a four-inch cookie cutter for the other half. Cut a tiny design using a small fondant star or use a knife to cut an X at the top of the larger circles - this is the vent you'll need as they cook.
Make Simple Apple Pie Filling
- Mix all ingredients together and then blend or puree in a food processor until you achieve the texture you want. It can be lumpy or smooth, your choice. Also taste-test and add more spice or sugar as you wish - this might depend on the type of apple you chose.
OR Make homemade Apple Butter
- Chop the apples in small chunks. Then process in a blender or food processor the apples into a pulp.Add in the additional ingredients, process again. Taste test and add extra maple syrup or spices to taste. Fill pastries as is. To store, keep apple butter refrigerated, and try to use it within a day or two for best flavor.
Assemble & Bake Pies
- Set the 3-inch circles on a parchment lined cookie sheets. Brush with water and a dash of cinnamon. Dollop on the apple butter in a mound.Cover each with the larger circles, brush the with water, sprinkle on sparkling sugar and cinnamon.
- Bake the pies at 375 F for 20 minutes. Check at 10 minutes to be sure the edges aren't burning and cover with loose foil if they seem browned too soon.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.