Bourbon Caramelized Apple Hand Pies

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Bourbon Caramelized Apple Hand Pies by Spinach Tiger

These are by far my favorite dessert of the year, so far. An apple pie is friendly and has always been synomous with hospitality. I’ve made plenty of them.  Here and here are my two favorites.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m going through a tough season. What was supposed to be a most joyful experience in remodeling my kitchen has turned very dark. The kitchen is beautiful, and I showed you my new beautiful, carrara marble countertops here.

However, there are many troubles unresolved with our remodel.  I’m not one that enjoys any kind of adversarial relationship. I forgive quickly and I would rather find a peaceful resolution than stand in court defending my truth.

Add to this, the devastation of Paris and I feel heavy hearted and anxious. I cannot get my mind around the heart of group evil and intentional destruction of a culture and of a people.

This is the time that we need to be extra loving towards our neighbors. We need to be a welcome mat, a healing ointment for each other.

Not only do we all have messy lives, we live in a fast, sound bite world where we can experience, sadness, hopelessness, opportunity, validation, and insult all in one afternoon.

It’s overwhelming,  and what is often missing is the absence of real in person relationships versus the many we form on social media.

I have heard people say that they actually refuse to speak on the phone to anyone, and will only text. But do you remember when a good phone call with a friend was the magic salve that made your  day better?

In my perfect world, all neighborhood’s would have sidewalks, and houses would have front porches. On any given day or night, you could take a walk and talk to a neighbor.

You would be invited in for a beverage, frequently. You would know the names of those people who lived around you and your children would have several “eyes” looking out for them.

People would walk together to the grocery store, talking and sharing the joys and trials of their lives. People would frequently deliver left over food or homemade goodies, just because.

I actually do have one such neighbor. The people that live next to us who are here from India have shown us what hospitality means. The day they moved in, they came and introduced themselves. We loved them for that immediately, because they demonstrated our value to them before they even met us.

We have been invited to their home for delicious food I don’t know how to cook several times.  I have sat and enjoyed tea with Priya many many times at her kitchen table. Their children play in my house, and I have on occasion made their birthday cakes. We have walked together, talked together and it’s comforting to have them next door. They brought this “style” of neighboring with them. It’s ingrained in who they are, and there are often a line of cars parked in front of their home as they welcome in friends.

I think we Americans used to be more like this, but then something happened as we purchased suburban homes and put up fences.

My prayer today is that we all reach out to our neighbors with love and perhaps with a sweet treat, like these apple hand pies.

The Hand Pies

I’ve made hand pies before, but this is a much different recipe. That recipe is made with raw apples and raspberry jam. In this recipe,  I cook the apples on top of the stove first, just like I did in this apple tart. I added a little bourbon in there, because it’s a bourbon week. Both are amazing.

You can tailor these pies to be gluten free like I did with these pumpkin pie hand pies.

So tell me, do you know your neighbors? Do you gather together? Do you send goodies over, just because?

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Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Bourbon Caramelized Apple Hand Pies

Hand pies with bourbon caramelized apple, made on the stove. Perfect for pot lucks. Can be prepared ahead, frozen and baked later.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15
Author: Angela Roberts


Pie Filling

  • 8 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca
  • dash nutmeg
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing over pie before baking
  • raw sugar for dusting top of pie

Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour see gluten free option here
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 15 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons iced cold water enough to make dough shaggy


  • Peel and slice apples. I like them on thin side.
  • Mix with lemon, 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar or enough to coat all apples.
  • Add in tapioca, (it serves as the thickener).
  • Melt butter in large frying pan.
  • Add in brown sugar.
  • Once it's melted into the butter, carefully add in bourbon (optional). 'Have a lid ready to cover as it may spike.
  • Cook for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add in more cinnamon to taste.
  • Cool. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Pie Crust

  • Place flour and cubed butter into freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Using a food processor, mix flour, salt and sugar for a few seconds to evenly disperse.
  • Add butter evenly in food processor. Mix on medium low speed for 10 seconds or until the butter is evenly dispersed, but still in tiny parts. You might want to
  • Slowly add in the water and mix for 3-5 seconds. It will not look ready, but you can test this by pinching the mixture together and it should hold. If not add in one more tablespoon water. Pour this mixture into a plastic ziploc bag. Form together and refrigerate for at least one hour. It will magically turn into pie dough.
  • Take out and allow to rest 15 minutes. Flour the dough and roll out.
  • This will make enough pie dough for a double crusted pie or 12-20 hand pies, depending on size.


  • Take pie crust out of refrigerator. It will take about 15 minutes to warm up.
  • Roll out on a floured surface. Use cookie cutter to cut discs into four inch rounds, smaller if you like.
  • Brush the bottoms with milk. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons apple filling (depending on size) to middle.
  • Before you place the top. put a slit or use another cutter to make a decorative imprint, making sure to have a steam vent on top. This helps prevent filling from spilling out sides.
  • Put top on; press edges together.
  • Brush with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • See notes on freezing.


You can prepare these and freeze before baking.
Bake frozen, but remember to brush with milk and sprinkle sugar.
You can also pre-bake and freeze.
Note 2: I note it takes about 30 mins ACTIVE Prep time, but I like to refrigerate the pie dough and apples overnight. You do not have to, but I think dough is easier to work with and apples taste better.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

More Hand Pies from Spinach Tiger

Pumpkin Pie Hand Pies, Gluten Free

Gluten Free Pumpkin Hand PIes

Blueberry Mini Hand Pies with Spelt Pie Crust

Blueberry Hand PIes from Spinach Tiger

Apple Hand Pies Laced with Raspberry Jam

Hand Held Apple PIes by Angela Roberts

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  1. I don’t have any alcohol, but I wonder how they would taste without the bourbon? They look absolutely scrumptious!

  2. Beautifully said Angela. We are very disconnected to each other but connected in a strange, disjointed way. The police came to my neighbour’s door this morning because her friends were worried about her. I had to say that I have only seen her twice ever (she’s a nurse, different hours) but it felt so odd.

  3. Funny you should bring up neighbors. I live in Los Angeles. Recently my neighbor 2 doors down was punched in the face by a homeless man while she was walking in front of her house. You may have seen it on the news as this neighbor is an actress on a hit TV show. I wasn’t around when it happened, but another neighbor pitched in and helped her draw a composite sketch of the guy then this neighbor walked Hollywood Blvd until he found the guy and called the cops. Sure it may be a big city version of good neighboring, but it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling when I heard. GREG

  4. Beautifully said Angela. Your words had me chocking up. It is heartbreaking to see the events of not only Paris but Beirut and the Russian airliner.i am traveling in NYC right now and I hardly heard any English spoken on the streets of Chelsea and Soho today and thought how wonderfully diverse and harmonious NYC is. We can only hope the world will unite in peace and respect for all people. The hand pies are just gorgeous and scrumptious.

  5. 5 stars
    I can see why these are your favorites!! They’d be mine too. You know cooking to me is cathartic and I need the feeling of doing something useful. I also feel for the people all around the world and especially the French who can’t make rhyme or reason out of something like this. But evil doesn’t need a reason– it is just what it is. So, what we can do is pray and not try to understand. You mentioned phone calls and reaching out to people? Texting is cold — it isn’t meant to take the place of a human voice or touch. Hopefully this season will make people think a little more about what they are missing in this age of technology. Sending a big hug to you and an Italian kiss to each cheek!!

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