Apple Cream-Cheese Hand Pies Recipe

5 from 10 reviews

A recipe for apple cream-cheese hand pies. A dollop of cream cheese nestled under the pie filling makes these desserts flaky, buttery, apple-y perfection.



For the cream cheese filling:

  • 4 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature (1/2 package)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg yolk

For the apple pie filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and diced (about 5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 grind fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)

For the All-Butter Pie Crust:

  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (312g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Raw or demerara sugar for finishing


Make the fillings:

  1. Combine cream cheese filling ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Place in fridge until ready to use.
  2. For the apple pie filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until apples are soft but not mushy. Use a slotted spoon to strain out the apple pieces. Return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until juice is reduced to 1/3 and is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Pour thickened juice back onto apples. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the All-Butter Pie Crust

  1. Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are OK; be careful not to over blend).
  2. Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the ice-water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice-water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice-water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.
  3. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

Make the Hand Pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Roll chilled pie dough out on floured surface to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out forty 4-inch circles, re-rolling if necessary. Place a dollop of cream cheese in the center of half of the circles. Top with a spoonful of the apple pie filling.
  3. Cover with another pie dough round and gently pinch the edges together. Use the tines of a fork to seal further and to create a fluted edge. Cut a small X-shaped slit on the top of each pie with a paring knife.
  4. Use a pastry brush to brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw or demerara sugar. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until dark golden.