My mom, Eva z”l, baked hand pies that are surprisingly easy to make and deliver everything I remember about her baking. She uses her incredibly flaky pie crust recipe, and then you have an unlimited number of filling possibilities. Whether you use apple, lemon curd, peach, cherry, pumpkin, chocolate, or Nutella, you will be in for a treat.

Why not let your flavor imagination go wild or make some combination twists, as I have with apple and lemon curd combined? These irresistible three-bite noshes boast a generous proportion of pie crust to filling that’s especially gratifying for those who prefer to take their pastry seriously but also have portion control. You can also make different fillings like lime curd or passion fruit curd.

8 oz lemon curd (store-bought optional) or make from scratchLemon Curd Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Lemon Curd Instructions

  1. Fill the bottom pot of your double boiler with 1-2 inches of water. Place on high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce to low heat to keep the water at a simmer.
  2. Place egg yolks, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt into the top pot of your double boiler. Using a silicone whisk, whisk until completely blended, then continue to whisk as the curd cooks. Constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling. Whisk and cook until the mixture becomes thick, resembling the texture of hollandaise sauce, about 10 minutes. If the curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Cut the butter into 6 separate pieces, then whisk into the curd. The butter will melt from the heat of the curd. Pour curd into a jar or bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top so it is touching the top of the curd. (This prevents skin from forming on top.) The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Once cool, the plastic wrap can be removed.
  4. Refrigerate the curd for up to about 10 days.

Sour Cream Pie Crust

Ingredients (yield 6 bottoms and 6 tops)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt (skip if using salted butter)

2 teaspoons of sugar (for sweet recipes, otherwise skip)

2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup, 8 ounces, cubed)

1/2 cup sour cream (full fat, sour cream)

Tips for pie dough success

This pie dough works a little differently than classic pie dough:

  1. Take the chill off the butter: With this recipe, you’ll work the butter into the flour with your hands, which will only work if the butter isn’t too cold. Take the butter out of the fridge and let it sit out for a few minutes in a warm spot before working it into the flour mixture.
  2. Squish the butter into the flour: As you work the butter into the flour pressing down with your knuckles in the bowl can help with this. Flattened pieces of butter will result in flaky layers.
  3. Stir in the sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream and if it has separated in the container, stir it before adding it to the dough mixture.
  4. Make sure your dough disks do not have cracks in them: Do not worry about overworking the dough; because of the way we incorporate fat, this is very forgiving pie dough. As you work it into disks, it should end up smooth, having the consistency of Play-Doh.
  5. Once you wrap the dough disk in plastic wrap, you can massage the dough and the edges with your warm hands to close any cracks.
  6. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Apple and Lemon Curd Hand Pies

4 Apples Granny Smith or Pink Lady your choice cored, sliced, and grated

1 lemon for its juice to keep Apples from browning

8 oz lemon curd (scratch-made or store-bought)

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Ingredients for Frosted Sugar Topping:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Hand Pie Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon sheet.
  2. Core, slice, and grate apples.
  3. In a bowl put the grated apples, lemon juice and mix to prevent apples from browning.
  4. Mix in the lemon curd with the grated apples and lemon juice.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to about a 13” round circle.
  6. Then cut 12-3″ circles (you’ll need to gather up scraps and reroll dough until you get to 12 circles you’ll need).
  7. Place 6 of the circles on parchment paper or silicon sheet and add a rounded tablespoon of the apple and lemon curd mixture on each circle in the middle of the dough.
  8. Beat the egg with water and brush the outer edges of the dough with egg wash.
  9. Place dough circle on top and seal together. With a fork by crimping the pie edges.
  10. Brush egg wash over each pie and cut a few small slits on the top.
  11. Bake for about 25 minutes until tops are golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes on wire rack

Frosted Topping

  1. In a small bowl combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of milk. Adjust your sugar topping to the consistency you would like. Too loose add sugar, too thick add milk, but only a teaspoon at a time.
  2. Drizzle glaze over hand pies let set.
  3. Refrigerate


Jeffery Giesener, former CEO of SourceMob, has both public and private company experience. Today, retired and enjoying life in San Diego, he’s a freelance writer who has a passion for both cinema and baking his Mom’s (Of Blessed Memory) European recipes.

Republished from San Diego Jewish World