Halloween is my favorite holiday to celebrate. I love the pumpkin patches and hayrides, the trick or treating. Even though it really doesn’t feel like fall here in Miami, but you have to make the best of it. I mean its basically the holiday kickoff, soon Thanksgiving will be here and then Christmas. Sophia has been watching The Nightmare Before Christmas non-stop, I’m not sure what to call this movie since it has two holidays attached to it. Lets go with Halloween for now, so I wanted to make something fun for Halloween and these will not disappoint. These apple hand pies are amazing, you could certainly just skip the faces and make regular hand pies, but what’s the fun in that? Let’s begin.
We are going to start with the filling, we melt the butter in a small sauce pan and then add the brown sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes until bubbly and golden and then add the heavy cream and a pinch of salt. I used this same recipe with my caramel apple sticky buns!
Add your cinnamon and apples and cook until the apples are soft, about 10 minutes. Then you want to allow the mixture to cool completely. This makes a lot of filling, I feel like this filling could make a whole pie without a problem. I would just cut the apples into bigger chunks. But I enjoy having extra filling that way you can freeze the rest for later and make them again at a later time, you could certainly halve the recipe or use the rest for the Caramel apple sticky buns!
Now let’s make the pie dough. I use the Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe. It is the best pie crust I have ever come across, so I won’t mess with perfection. But I will tell you the method I use. If you are making it with a food processor then click the link and follow Ina’s directions. I used a pastry blender and did it all by hand.
In a bowl whisk the flour, sugar and salt until combined.
Then add the diced cold butter and diced shortening. I recommend you dice the butter first and then refrigerate it again for at least an hour. You really want it to be cold. I like to put the shortening in the freezer, I feel like it keeps it cold longer than the refrigerator. Since I’m doing it by hand I feel like this step really helps to produce a flaky dough.
Add the ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, this is where the recipe changed slightly I ended up using 10 tablespoons of water before my dough came together. So keep adding a little at a time until it is well combined. This is the perfect task to assign to your little helper.
After mixing with the spoon I start pressing the dough together with my hands so that it starts coming together.
Then I put it in plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. I got caught up with other chores and came back to it about two hours later. Cut the dough in half (this makes two pie rounds) and put the other half in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
Roll the dough out about 1/4 inch thick and then cut into circles. I managed to get 16 circles from both dough’s, 8 are going to be plain circles and the other eight are going to have faces.
With a knife lightly draw the face of Jack Skellington.
Then add one tablespoon of apple filling to the center of the circle. If you are just making regular hand pies, you could certainly add more filling, then put egg wash in the outer circle of the dough with the filling.
Now put Jack Skellington’s face on top of the dough with the filling, press them together and then go around the edges with the fork tines. Repeat until all of the pies have been made.
Once you’ve transferred the pies to a baking sheet, brush the tops of the pies with the remaining egg wash. Put it in a 375 F oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Then remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Skellington Apple Hand Pies
You could certainly halve the apple recipe, as this does make a lot of filling. Or you could freeze the rest of the mixture until you need you make the pies again.
If you are making the dough with a pastry blender, be sure to freeze the shortening and that the butter is very cold. It is important because it ensures that you have a flaky crust.
Pie crust (Ina Gartens Recipe)
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening ( I freeze it)
- 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water ( I used about 10 tablespoons)
- 2 Granny Smith Apples Diced
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- pinch of salt
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon of water
- Make the pie filling first, peel and dice two granny smith apples. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat begin melting butter and then add brown sugar. Continue cooking for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble and the brown sugar has dissolved. Add the heavy cream and mix until combined, then add a pinch of salt and the diced apple. Cook until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool completely.
- For the dough dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator (I like to refrigerate it for at least an hour after I have diced it) while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl . Dice the shortening and place in freezer until ready to use. Add the butter and shortening and begin cutting it into the flour with a pastry blender, until the butter is the size of peas. slowly add the ice water one tablespoon at a time and mix with a spoon until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Cut your circles out, and repeat with the other half of the dough. I managed to get a total of 16 circles, 8 for faces and 8 for the base.
- Now add one tablespoon of apple filling to the center of the plain dough circle and outline the face in the other dough circle.
- To make the egg wash beat one egg with one tablespoon of water in a bowl. Brush the outer ring of the apple filled circle with the egg was and press with your fingers around the dough. Then press with the tines of the fork around Skellington’s face and repeat this 8 times.
- Transfer pies to a baking sheet and brush the tops of the pies with the remainder of the egg wash. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then enjoy!