Give a gift that sparkles, without paying a fortune: Southern apple hand pies

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Pie is messy. Hand pies, on the other hand, are … handy. OK, sorry. But they are delicious and convenient. The ones we feature here don’t even need to be fried. They’re tiny little pies that fit in your hand, and they sparkle in the sun because of the course sugar topping. If you’re trying to impress or maybe don’t own a pie tin — no judgment! — these are definitely the way to go. After all, a full apple pie is pretty much a twice-a-year dish, devoured on Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. But an apple hand pie? Those are seasonless.
You could fill these pies with whatever you like — cherry, blackberry or even a chocolate or citrus pie filling could work. A bit of advice: Do some market research, and find out what your friends and loved ones desire in a personal pie, then make their day!
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Southern apple hand pies
12
4 hours 30 minutes
30 minutes
5 hours
¼ cup ice cold water
¼ cup ice-cold vodka
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar, separated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
5 medium Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, separated
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Combine the water and vodka, and set in the freezer.
Place 2/3 of the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the kosher salt into a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Add the very cold unsalted butter cubes, and process for 10-12 seconds, or until the butter resembles sand.
Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl, and add half of the water and vodka mixture. Fold with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Add half of the remaining flour and repeat, alternating with the remaining water and vodka mixture, until everything is combined and the dough is slightly dry but holds its shape. Form the dough into a thick disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Peel and core the apples, and slice them into ½-inch pieces.
Add the additional butter to a medium saucepan over a medium heat and, once melted, add the apples, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, allspice, ginger and pinch of salt. Cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until the apples are tender but not completely soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Lightly flour a large work surface, and roll out the chilled dough to about ¼ inch thick. Use a bowl with a 4-5 inch diameter to trace the shape of the hand pies, cutting 12 circles out with a sharp knife.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of apple pie filling onto one side of each circle of dough, leaving a generous seam, and then brush that seam with a little water to help it seal before you fold the other half of the dough over.
Use a fork to press the edges together or alternately, fold a bit over at a time and pinch, like an empanada.
Lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don't burn.
Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
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