One of my favorite campsite treats, hand pies make for a quick breakfast and portable trail snack. The smell of tart apples, spices, and rose along with a nutty, whole-wheat crust simply screams “rustic”. This fall I was lucky enough to attend Pie Camp with Cheryl Day of Back in the Day Cafe in Savannah, GA who inspired this recipe. I recommend stopping for a pie slice if you’re ever driving through! Explore with the Wildsam Savannah guidebook.
- 1 cup (227g) butter (70-90% butterfat) such as Kerry Gold or Challenge at room temperature, sliced into 1” cubes.
- 1 ½ cups (175g) whole-wheat flour such as King Arthur
- 1 ½ cups (175g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (7g) fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (92g) water
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream for brushing
Whisk together the flours and the salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter chunks and incorporate them into the dough, pinching them apart with your fingers, intermingling the dough but keeping some smaller chunks present. Butter chunks in your dough mean good flakiness. When the butter is mostly combined, add water and knead slightly to distribute, careful not to overmix. Compress it into one uniform shape.
Using a knife or a pastry scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Wrap each one in a sheet of plastic wrap, and flatten into discs, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you can. This allows the flour to saturate with fat.
- 4 large tart apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
- 1.5 teaspoon (15g) rosewater
- 1 teaspoon (10g) fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (7g) ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into ½-in (1.5cm) cubes
Peel and core the apples, then slice them into small 1” chunks appropriate for hand pie filling. Combine the flour, spices and salt in a small cup and keep it nearby. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the apples, sugars, rosewater, lemon juice, and butter. Add the spice mix and coat the apples, tossing to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours if not overnight to release juices from the apples– this is maceration! It’ll be even more delicious in the morning.
One optional step is to drain the fluid from the apples afterward and reduce it on the stove until it’s thicker and more caramelized, reincorporating it into the apples. I skip this step.
Flour your work area, such as a large cutting board or non-stick surface. Unwrap a chilled dough disc and place it right on the surface.
Rather than letting it come to room temperature, give it firm taps with a rolling pin across the surface until it gently compresses and flattens, rotating the disk and repeating so that it continues to flatten.
Add flour and flip the dough over as needed, rolling it flat in alternating directions so it spreads uniformly. When it’s pliable and reduced to about ⅛ in thick (4mm), trim a 6” circle (152mm) of dough.
Keep your chilled apple filling nearby. Brush heavy cream around the edges of the dough disc, because we’ll eventually press it closed and seal it for baking.
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons (40g) of the filling into the center of the hand pie. Fold the dough over the filling and gently press out any air gaps.
I like to crimp the edges of the dough in a wavy pattern using my fingers for texture, but you could use a fork and press indentations around the edge for a combed appearance as well.
Using a sharp knife or the edge of a metal spatula, cut 3 vents in the top of the pie in a semicircle. This will let the filling cook and vent without spilling out of the seam.
Now that the hand pie is formed, if you want it to maintain a pristine shape throughout the baking, you can chill it in the fridge for 6-8 hours before baking. If you’re not particular, you can skip this step.
Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C). Add a piece of parchment paper to a baking tray and place the hand pies on it. Brush on one light layer of heavy cream, and dust with granulated sugar or toasted sugar. (I keep toasted sugar on hand for this- it’s sugar that’s been baked for 4 hours at 325°F (162°C) and stirred every 30 minutes until it’s tan.)
Bake for 22 minutes or until it smells delicious and looks golden brown. Often with RV ovens, I rotate the dish halfway through the timer for an even bake. Yours may vary.
If you’re looking for more campground recipes, check out some of our other favorites below.
- Easy Camp Meals for Solo RV Travelers
- 4 Korean-Style Recipes to Cook on a Camping Griddle
- 7 Campfire Soups to Make in Your Dutch Oven
Do you have favorite desserts you cook at the campground? Let us know in the comments below.