Vegan Apple Hand Pies
These individual flaky and buttery vegan apple hand pies might just be the ideal dessert for sharing with a group this autumn and winter - whether you’re at home sat over a table, on the go, or sitting by a fire.
If you feel your dough starting to soften at any point whilst making the recipe, the best thing you can do is pop it in the fridge for ten minutes to chill. Keeping the dough (and specifically the butter) cold is the single most important step in achieving a flaky, crisp and buttery pastry and it will completely change what these apple pies feel and taste like. As it's important to keep the butter and cold and hard as possible, I always buy a plant based butter block when making pastry - as opposed to a plant based butter spread - and go for Naturli block in particular.
40 mins (+ chilling)
150g plant based butter block, cold
180g plain flour
20g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp (60ml) ice cold water
45g plant based butter
350g apples, sliced and chopped
75g light brown sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
30g plain flour
1 tbsp plant based milk
1 tbsp plant based butter, melted
2 tbsp demerara sugar, for topping
Start by making the dough. Use a sharp knife to slice the butter into thin slices, and place it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add half of the slices of butter to the flour and use your hands to press them into the flour, until the butter slices are mostly broken down. Add the remaining slices of butter, and repeat the process for around one minute. There will still be larger slices amongst the flour, and that’s a good thing.
Next, drizzle in the iced water whilst stirring the flour and butter together with a fork, until a very scrappy dough comes together.
Once all of the water has been added, transfer the dough onto a sheet of cling film or parchment paper and use your hands to pack it into a disc. Wrap the dough and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and up to 24.
Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes. Unwrap it and place it onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out lengthwise, until a long rectangle forms.
Next, you’re going to fold the dough like a letter - which will help form layers in the final pastry, making it very flaky and crisp. Lift the side of dough closest to you and fold it over the centre, then fold the side farthest from you over the centre. Wrap the dough up again, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped apples, light brown sugar and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
Add the spices and salt, and stir. Cook the apples for 5-6 minutes, until the apples have softened but still have a little bite to them. Remove them from the heat, and stir in the flour to thicken them. Let the apples cool for 20-25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C fan/220˚C conventional.
Once the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge and transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out until it’s roughly ⅓ cm thick.
Use a cookie cutter that's around 8cm wide to punch out as many rounds as you can - ideally 14. Transfer them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes.
Collect the scraps and press them into a disc. Wrap them up and chill them in the fridge for 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge, and repeat the rolling process, punching out as many rounds as possible, and ensuring you have an even number so each round has a pair. Transfer the new rounds onto the same baking sheet as the others, or onto a separate tray if they don’t fit.
Remove all of the dough rounds from the fridge. Fill half of them with 1 tsp of apple filling, wet the edges with a drop of water, then use the remaining rounds to top the bases. Press down the edges slightly to seal the filling, then use a fork to fully crimp the edges.
Use a knife to slice a couple slits through the top of the pastry - this will help steam escape as they bake.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk and butter together. Use a pastry brush to brush the pies with the mixture. Sprinkle them with demerara sugar. Make sure the pies have at least a 4-5 cm of space between them, as they will expand slightly as they bake.
Bake the pies for 20-22 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes before tucking in.
By Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.