The Apple Pie You Gotta Wrap Your Hands Around

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This Thanksgiving, you can put away the pie server, the pie plate, and even those forks because the pie you'll be serving up is of the grab-and-go variety--though it's so delicious you'll want to sit and linger over it!
Just like petite pies in mini muffin tins were popular last year, this year it's all about hand pies. These tasty, versatile treats are perfect as a dessert after a holiday meal, in a lunch box or as after school treat. They're also a great single-serving dessert for all the holiday open house parties. If you remember the personal size fruit pies from your youth, fear not: I've cut more than half the calories and fat. 
Chef Meg's Apple Hand Pie National Brand Apple Hand Pie
161 calories 470 calories
9 grams fat 20 grams fat
In addition to traditional fruit pies, you can turn these into portable lunches, too. Savory or sweet, these pies are easy to make and easier to eat! And they only take eight minutes to bake and 15 to prep. Let's get started!

The dough
The reason my recipe was almost half the amount of fat was due to the dough that I selected.  Most hand pies are made with puff pastry.  The plus is that you can buy a good quality puff pastry at the grocery store, but the big minus is that it is loaded with fat and calories (154 calories and 11 grams of fat per 1 ounce serving). 
Traditional pie dough is also pretty high in fat and calories, with 110 calories and 7 grams fat.

I went with phyllo dough, which has only 57 calories and 1 gram of fat per sheet. 
Paper-thin phyllo dough is not high in fat on its own, but in many traditional dishes, such as hortopitakia (spinach hand pies) or baklava, each layer is brushed with butter to add richness and aid browning. Today we cut way back on the butter and used a bit of nonstick spray.
The filling
You can fill your hand pies with just about any fruit, vegetable, lean cooked meat, or low-fat cheese that you can think of.  The key is to make the filling flavorful and make sure the filling isn't too wet.  Most fruits should be precooked to pull out some of the moisture.  Sauté apples, simmer berries, or use dried fruits that have been rehydrated in hot water and drained.  Frozen vegetables should be thawed and squeezed between cotton towels or paper towels to release excess moisture.  Fresh vegetables should be blanched in boiling water then shocked in ice water to stop the cooking.  Cooked meats and cheeses should be cut thin or shredded.
The glaze
Phyllo dough doesn't contain a lot of fat on its own, so it's not going to get that golden brown color on its own. While beaten egg whites, milk, and nonstick spray or oil will all give the outer covering of the dough a shiny look, they will leave your taste buds searching for that buttery dough taste. 
A bit of butter goes a long way in this recipe to brown the dough and add the richness your tongue craves. Rather than using just melted butter, I used brown butter.
Brown butter (beurre noisette in classical cooking) is unsalted butter that has been melted slowly to allow the milk solids and butterfat to separate, then cooked until the milk solids have browned. The result is a richer butter that has a nutty flavor. Brown butter is often used in sauces and pastries. The process is simple, but you must remove the butter from the pan as soon as it browns so it doesn't continue to cook--you could end up with burned butter!
I used the brown butter method in my Apple Hand Pies, which will be a perfect addition to your dessert course this Thanksgiving!

And since you'll have some phyllo dough left over, why not make a batch of Spinach Pie (Hortopitakia) for lunch. Or get creative and whip up some Thanksgiving leftover-themed hand pies. How about turkey, cranberry relish, spinach, and leftover sweet potatoes?
What is your favorite kind of pie? Will you make hand pies this holiday season? Anyone make apple crisp during the holidays?
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These look good but i make my own hand pies buy scratch they r delicious Report
These sound yummy, just like a Hostess pie or one of those breakfast pies. Now that Hostess is gone this will be great and not nearly as many calories! Report
Yes, would love to hear if the rice paper wraps need to be adjusted. I too am celiac. Thanks DMS Glass. Report
Definitely saving this as I am sure I'll try it this winter! Thanks for the recipe and tips! Report
OH my, this looks like a healthier pop tart. For some reason I have been craving poptarts. I then think, Really poptarts???? I'm going to try this Report
I wonder if this would work with rice paper husband has celiac disease. Report
Never heard of hand pies, but this looks good - finally a use for that phyllo dough in my freezer :) Report
My favorite pie is pumpkin. I love this time of year for that reason. I found a recipe for a crustless pumpkin pie a few years ago that I just love. Report
What a great idea. I don't think I'm bringing dessert for Thanksgiving this year, but I think I'll make some and take them as a "hostess gift" for the days after. Report
I hate to cook, but those look good. Report
Looks yummy, think I'll try it for Thanksgiving ;-) Report
Try mashed butternut squash, green peas, and curry spices. :) Report
My favorite is actually Apple Crisp, which is less about the filling than the topping and doesn't have a conventional crust. Loved it the way my mother made it.

I'm actually intrigued by the idea of these hand pies because it seems like they could be individually made - where having a whole pie sitting around is excessive for a single person. Report
Sounds great, i believe this will be a good thing to try out this week as I'll be alone and thats when I can really stick to my healthy eating plan. No one to please but myself. Report
I really wish it was for something OTHER than apple as I was forced to eat it as a kid and to this day I detest cooled apples (Don't even get me going on raisins). Report
Now that looks yummy and easy to make too. Report
I Believe I'll Try This! My Favorite Pie Is Sweet Potato And I'm Sure I Can Do This With Them. Thanks for Always Sharing Just What We Need! Enjoy a GREAT Week!!! :))) Report
I love apple pies. Report
Oh , Thank-you Meg - I will make this today. I just adore Apples and there benefits to our bodies. Apple Pie is my Favorite ! Report
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