Apple Butter Hand Pies


These hand pies are easy to transport, making them perfect for picnics and hostess gifts.


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 ¼ 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

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups Apple Butter

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg to the sugar-butter mixture, and beat until just blended.

  2. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt, and add to the cream-cheese mixture. Beat until completely blended. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, and using your hands, press the dough into a 1-inch-thick patty, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least one hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

  3. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.

  4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons apple butter onto one half of each circle of dough. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, spread out apple butter. Keep apple butter on half the circle, and spread until it is about 1/2 inch from the edge, making sure apple butter is not completely flattened. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the apple butter, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

  5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with cold water. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

Cook's Notes

You can make the buttermilk for these hand pies by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk.

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