Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies

by on October 15, 2012

Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies from

When in comes to baking, I tend to get a little obsessed. Case in point; last night Diane is flipping through a recent Sunset magazine and sees a recipe for the “Easiest Pie Dough”. The pictures look great of course, all flaky and butter, and the recipe says the dough is thrown together in 10 minutes.

We both have a bit of professional skepticism. It has been known for food stylists to fudge a flake to get that money shot, but this is Sunset magazine. They are straight up good peeps, we know this because we’ve worked with them on several magazine stories. You know, the kind of people with ethics and morals. We’ve heard great things about those kind of people.

Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies from

But still, 10 minutes and that gorgeous flake. So she asks me to make it. She didn’t mean now, just whenever. Sometime in the near future just to see if the recipe it legit. Besides, who doesn’t love a great pie crust that can be thrown together quickly.

And that is where my obsession creeps in. It is already 10 at night. Its winding down with a cocktail, a few puppy belly rubs, and see if we can stay awake through half of  a movie. But I need to try this recipe now!

Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies from

Per the recipe I toss the ingredients into the food processor and pulse as instructed. (BTW- this was a leap of faith for me. Normally if the butter isn’t pinched in, pinch me gone.) Less than 10 minutes later I had a dough ball split in two, flattened into discs, and chilling in the fridge. That was easy.

Too easy. I had decided to make some brown butter hand pies with the dough with the filling in the style of our brown butter apple galettes. The filling was originally inspired by one of Jennie’s recipes from In Jennie’s Kitchen. It is still, hands down (where does that phrase come from?) our favorite way to make a filling with really good apples. The nuttiness of the brown butter play in the background to slightly sweetened apples sans any spice.

Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies from

Yet that wouldn’t take too long to throw together, so I had another recipe I was wanting to test out, and could use the pie dough for its crust as well, so I started working on that too. I know crazy, right. I should have been winding down by now, and instead was now making two different desserts just to try them out. I need help.

Long story short. The second dessert was a partial do over. I don’t think its creator checked their quantities very well since the filling didn’t even fill a 7″ tart when it was supposed to be for a 9″. What the hell? I don’t need inaccuracies at 11 o’clock at night. However the apple hand pies came out just fine. The crust was as flaky as alluded, and the brown butter apple filling rocked, of course. Breakfast was ready, I just needed to get a little sleep and wait for the sun to come up.


Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies

Yield: 18 Hand Pies

Total Time: 1 hour

The crust is from Sunset magazine's October issue, labeled as the Easiest Pie Dough. It is quite easy and good, but if you have a favorite dough already just substitute that in. The directions are for a half moon shape (childhood memories and all) but one could always slap two circles together to make a round hand pie, or else cut the dough into squares and make triangles or square pies. Let your imagination go wild.


  • 1 full batch Pie Dough(enough dough to make two 9" pies)
  • 4 medium Apples (@ 1 1/2 lbs total), peeled, cored and thinly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (55g) packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) Flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup (75g) unsalted Butter
  • 1 Egg, for egg wash
  • 1 Tablespoon Water (15ml) for egg wash


  1. Make pie dough, form into 2 disks and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchment paper.
  3. Toss the apples, sugars, flour, and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
  4. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will initially foam up and then settle down. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the solids begin to separate and brown, and the liquids turns a light brown color. It should have a nutty, toasty aroma. Remove from heat.
  5. Add brown butter to apples and toss to coat.
  6. Working with one dough disk at a time, keeping the other chilling in the fridge, roll out to 1/8" thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 4" ring cutter or 4" tartlet pan, cut out circles, re-rolling scraps (if they start to get warm, refrigerate then roll in 15-20 minutes).
  7. Whisk together egg and water. Brush dough circles with egg wash. Pile about 1/4 cup of apples in the center of the circle, and then fold over and pinch to seal edges.
  8. Place hand pie on lined sheet pan, brush top with egg wash, and score with a knife if desired. Repeat to fill sheet pan, placing hand pies at least an inch apart.
  9. When sheet pan is filled, place in oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. While first pan bakes, continue rolling, filling and folding remaining dough.
  10. After finished baking, allow to cool for 15 minutes and serve.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie @ Averie Cooks October 15, 2012 at 12:44 am

I get inspired to make dessert(s) at 11pm or later, too. And I am queen of misreading, miscalculating, or misconstruing my recipes at that hour. Lol

Glad this one worked out for you and boy, the brown butter apple filling sounds soooo scrumptious! I love browned butter, with…anything!


2 White on Rice Couple October 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

The brown butter with the apples was so good, I was eating the filling while making the hand pies. There was a bit left over, so I had to save it for later munching! :)


3 Natanya @ Fete & Feast October 15, 2012 at 7:34 am

I have to say I was skeptical about food processor pie dough but Martha Stewart’s recipe converted me. It’s how I make all pie dough now and it takes those quick 10 minutes. While my grandmother probably scowls at me from heaven every time I do it, it’s close enough to great for me, particularly during a busy baking season. And now I just try this brown butter apple filling. YUM!


4 Christi Nielsen October 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

I too use the Martha recipe. It’s so fast and good, I’ve never bought a store crust again. But I’ll try this one to see which one I like better. :)


5 @GreenteaDesign October 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

That is beautiful!! – Apple Hand Pies Recipes with Brown Butter


6 jeremy October 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

I’m starving and these little pies have me salivating as I work away at my desk. I’m definitely going to try this recipe this weekend with my kids.

On another note, I’m too much of a trivia buff to not take you up on your question. I’ve checked several websites, and this seems to be the answer to the “hands down” riddle. Ah, the joys of google…never a bet that doesn’t get settled with just a few key strokes. ;)

“The origin of this colloquialism seems to have its roots in mid-19th century horseracing. When a horse jockey is nearing the finish line far ahead of the competition, “with victory certain”, he could drop his hands, relaxing his hold on the reins and still win the race. “By the late 19th century the phrase was being used in non-racing contexts to mean ‘with no trouble at all.”


7 White on Rice Couple October 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Jeremy… hands down, you rock! I love the phrase even more now knowing its origin.


8 Angie @ Big Bear's Wife October 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

Those look absolutely perfect!


9 Linda | The Urban Mrs October 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

I’m so all over this now. Handmade pies are the best, especially the smell when they’re freshly baked. Lovely pictures!


10 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking October 15, 2012 at 10:15 am

I love making apple hand pies and these look perfect! I must try your pie dough recipe, too. Thanks for sharing!


11 Christi Nielsen October 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

I actually have everything on hand for this. Making it now. Squee!


12 Colette October 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

The food processor is my fav kitchen helper. I swear I make almost everything with it.


13 White on Rice Couple October 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I love their convenience, I just hate to clean them! ;)


14 Jan Rossi October 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I am trying hard to keep with the gluten free thing, so converting my mom’s pie dough (very simple) into this recipe might be a challenge but I will try it. I love the small hand held burrito look to these tasty treats. A little white zig, zag of confectioner’s sugar icing will make me think its a turnover! Nice! Thanks for the inspiration!


15 Vijitha October 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Apple pies look so good. Absolutely delicious and brilliant clicks as always.


16 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

These are stunning!


17 jessica @ how sweet October 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

as a self-proclaimed brown butter freak… i would like to live inside one of those mini pockets.


18 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel October 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I am SO trying that dough recipe. And it’s pie season after all… oh wait, that’s all year but especially so now. Yum!


19 Christi Nielsen October 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm

So I was surprised at how the good the filling was without spices (I used the Gala apples I had on hand), but I still added a bit of cinnamon to the filling for the second batch.

I think I prefer the Martha Stewart version of this dough. It’s pretty darn close, but this one seemed a little dense. Hers calls for 1/2 cup less flour and slightly less sugar. But this was still good and much better than store bought.

I added one thing… I slightly candied some pecans and added it to the apple mixture. Yummy!


20 White on Rice Couple October 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm

That sounds awesome. I’m going to have to try to Martha Stewart recipe now and I love the candied pecan addition. Great call!


21 Julie @ NaClKitchen October 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

Ok pie dough in 10 minutes (plus the 30 min chill) is not good. That makes it so much easier to make pies; my waist line may regret this. This hand pies look like the perfect fall dessert!


22 Loretta E October 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

Apple pie and browned butter is totally a match made in heaven. Kind of like caramel apples without being too sweet. I am now totally converted to processing my crusts because it’s almost a no-fail for me and it’s SO fast.


23 Cynthia A. October 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm

At around 10 o’clock the presidential debate was starting to give me agida. I turned off the tv and made some dough, did the dishes, and made filling. I am much calmer now. Added bonus the house smells delicious!


24 Nik@ABrownTable October 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

These look wonderful!


25 Huy @ HungryHuy October 21, 2012 at 2:21 am

Wow, these look really tasty.. I can almost smell them :). Perhaps a good snack for the colder days to come. I love the photography you guys have. Holler from OC!


26 Angela October 22, 2012 at 8:55 am

Pleased and proud that you mention Sunset Magazine and have a link back to the magazine. Thanks!


27 Sandy October 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

Made these at the campsite this past weekend and our camper smelled so wonderful. It helped that we were camped in an apple orchard-thank you so much for sharing the recipe-definitely a keeper and even in my tiny tiny kitchen they were easy to make.


28 RSA Certificate November 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm

It taste good!


29 November 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

These look yummy! Making today!!


30 WendyM November 4, 2014 at 7:13 am

Perfect timing! I’ve made apple tarts without spices (Ina Garten), but we’ve been making pumpkin empanadas this week and was looking for a spice-free apple version for my kiddo who’s allergic to cinnamon… So going to give these brown butter apples a try! Sounds delicious! Thank you!


31 Maria November 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm

These look so good and so fast to make, thanks for posting. How many spoons of brown butter would you use for these recipe? I make brown butter by the pound and I just would like to try the recipe as it should be ( i ‘m a disaster in the kitchen and always have to use exact measurements…) Thanks a million :)


32 White on Rice Couple November 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Depends on the size of the spoon. If you are referring to tablespoons, 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup.


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