Having come of age in Arizona, I tend to obsess over all things quintessentially fall, since fall doesn’t really exist there. But despite having lived in New England for five years now, I still had never gone apple picking. This year, I decided to remedy that, STAT. Last weekend, the boy and I drove out to an apple orchard in Harvard, MA, and had so much fun trying different varieties and selecting the most beautiful, fragrant apples.
Of course, we came home with way too many to eat on their own, so I immediately knew I was going to try my hand at hand pies. Besides their utilitarian feel, hand pies are rustic and easy, especially if you don’t own a pie tin (guilty). I tried to make these pretty authentic — you’ll see I used vegan butter instead of coconut oil–but you’re welcome to experiment with different oils and flours to suit your diet and tastes. Now, go fire up the oven and make these!
Vegan Apple Ginger Hand Pies
- 2 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour, but all-purpose or spelt would work, too)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold vegan butter
- 10-12 tablespoons cold water
- 2 large apples (any variety), chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Extra flour for rolling
- Melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Make your flax egg by combining the flax seeds and warm water. Set aside to gel.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and sea salt. Add butter and use a fork to break up the chunks until the mixture has a sand-like texture. Stir in the flax egg.
4. Add water to the mixture by the tablespoon, until the dough is pliable and comes together easily (I ended up using 10 tablespoons of water, but you might need more or less). If the dough seems too wet, add a tablespoon of flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. While the dough is freezing, prepare your filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
6. When the dough is ready, rolling it out on a floured surface. The dough should be able 1/4″ thick when rolled out. Using a round 3″ cookie cutter (or coffee cup, no shame), cut circles out of the dough. Once you have cut as many as you can, gather the scraps and roll out again. Repeat this process until all the dough has been used up.
7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Line half the rounds on the sheet and spoon the filling on top, being careful not to overfill. Using the remaining rounds, cover each hand pie (you might need to gently stretch the top round so that it covers the filling completely). Using a fork, press down around the circumference of each pie to seal. Finally, use a toothpick to poke a few holes on the top of each pie — this will ensure they don’t explode in the oven.
8. If you’d like, brush pies with melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar before baking for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm.
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Photo: Molly Lansdowne