Maple Bourbon Apple Hand Pies

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I know, I know. Thanksgiving, the official Pie Holiday, is over and it’s now December and time for chocolate and peppermint. But who doesn’t love a good apple pie? Especially an apple pie flavored with maple and bourbon and tucked into a buttery, flaky crust. And an apple pie flavored with maple and bourbon, tucked into a buttery crust, and drizzled with a cinnamon glaze that’s all packaged up in a handheld size is even better.

Grab one (or two) of these and go on with your day, fueled by apples and bourbon. (Disclaimer: there is not enough bourbon in these to get you drunk, and the alcohol is baked out anyway. You could eat the entire batch and be fine, except for being in a sugar coma.)

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To make these, I peeled some apples and diced them up pretty finely, tossed the apples with some of my favorite fall spices (cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, to be exact), drizzled the filling with maple syrup reduced down with bourbon, and baked it all up in an all-butter, flaky pastry. I think I actually just started drooling a little thinking about these…

I used a mix of Fuji and Goldrush the first time I made these, and a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith the second time. Both combos were great and I’d recommend any of those four apple varieties, or your particular favorite. Just make sure you don’t use a variety like Red Delicious that’s really only good for eating – they will turn to mush when baked and you still want a bit of a bite to the filling.

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I tried these both with and without maple extract, and the maple flavor is definitely more forward with the maple extract so I don’t recommend skipping it. You can find maple extract at a lot of grocery stores but if yours doesn’t have it, you can order it here from King Arthur Flour. I also recommend a darker maple syrup as this will have a more robust flavor than a light syrup. Finally, if you can find a bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup that would be ideal to further enhance the bourbon.

These would be crazy good still warm from the oven, served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or freshly whipped cream. Or both.

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced and cold
  • 3-6 Tbsp ice water

Filling

  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup, dark and robust, ideally bourbon barrel-aged
  • 4 Tbsp bourbon – use your favorite, I like Woodford Reserve
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 2 cups peeled and finely diced apples – about 2 large apples or 3 small/medium apples. Fuji, Goldrush, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are all good options. I suggest a mix.
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Splash of milk
  • Any leftover bourbon maple syrup

To finish

  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • Sanding sugar, optional

Directions

First, make the dough. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt until just blended. Add the cubed, cold butter and pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of peas. Slowly add water, 1 Tbsp at a time, just until a dough forms. The dough will appear a little raggedy when done, but if it holds together when you press two pieces together, it’s ready.

Alternatively, you can make the dough by hand in a large bowl. Just rub the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter and then add the water.

Turn the raggedy dough onto a floured board and knead until cohesive. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

While the dough is resting, make the bourbon maple syrup. Simmer the pure maple syrup and the bourbon in a saucepan over medium heat until reduce in half. Off the heat, add the maple extract. Pour into a glass dish or bowl and let cool; it should thicken as it cools.

Make the apple filling. Mix the apples with the lemon juice, pinch of salt, flour, sugar, and spices.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a rectangle, about 12×16 inches. If it’s stiff, let it rest for a few minutes before rolling. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, about 6×4 each.

Divide the apple filling amongst the pieces, centering on the bottom half of the dough. Drizzle some of the reduced maple bourbon syrup over the filling. It’s okay if it pools a little, but you don’t want too much or else it will saturate the dough and you’ll have a dreaded soggy bottom. If you have some leftover, don’t worry, it won’t go to waste.

Beat the egg with a bit of water or milk to create the egg wash. Brush the edges of each pie. Fold the top half over the filling and pinch the sides together. Cut a small slit into the top of each pie in order to let steam escape.

Egg wash the top of each pie and sprinkle with sanding sugar, if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

While cooling,Ā make the glaze.Ā To 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, add any leftover maple bourbon syrup, the cinnamon, and just enough milk to thin the glaze to a drizzling consistency. If you don’t have any maple bourbon syrup leftover but want more bourbon or maple flavor, you can add a splash of bourbon and a small drop of maple extract. Or just enjoy the cinnamon and milk.

Drizzle the glaze over the cooled apple pies and enjoy!

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