Apple season is here! My family has so much fun going apple picking at local farms this time of year, and I have a special place in my heart for apple recipes.
So when I discovered that local restaurant/hotel/brewery/distillery McMenamins released a new apple flavored whiskey, Aval Pota, I was so excited to try it out -- on its own, in cocktails, and in a food!
Hand pies are one of my favorite pastry dishes to make when there are friends and family coming over. They usually just require a few ingredients, are easy to whip together, and make for sweet and/or savory finger food.
This Apple Whiskey Hand Pie recipe makes about nine hand pies, depending on how large you make each one.
Apple Whiskey Hand Pies
You'll need to pick up a bottle of apple whiskey for this recipe. I used Aval Pota from McMenamins Edgefield distillery. It's made with fresh pressed apples from Hood River, Oregon, McMenamins own malt whiskey, and a touch of cinnamon.
In a large bowl, you'll combine chopped apples with cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon, and brown sugar, then saute over medium heat for just a couple of minutes.
Then you'll add the whiskey and cook the alcohol down a bit. Be sure to continually stir the ingredients, and cook until the apples just start to get soft, about 3 minutes. You don't want them too soft at this point, but they shouldn't be making any crisp sounds when you bite into a piece either.
Now, you can use pie crust or puff pastry dough for hand pies. I prefer the flaky, buttery crispness of puff pastry.
Roll out your puff pastry dough sheets, and divide into 9 even sections.
Place about 1-2 heaping Tablespoons of filling in the middle bottom half of each section. Top with 4-6 mini marshmallows.
Be sure to set aside and save the remaining liquid from the filling. I'll tell you why in just a bit.
There's no perfect amount here, but know that you shouldn't be afraid to add more. The photo above is from my first attempt at recipe testing this, and I added more for the second and I was surprised how much the pastry pockets could hold.
Fold over the top half and then secure all of the sides by pinching the edges. If you have extra pastry on some edges, feel free to gently fold those up a bit and then pinch.
Using a knife, gently poke 3-4 slits on the top of each hand pie. You can also gently press a knife or fork against the sides to add some detail, as I did (hint: this trick also helps hide some imperfections from the extra folded over pastry you might have on the edges!).
As you can see from the photo above, my hand pies weren't all perfectly uniform. Yours can be oblong or more square -- it all works, as long as you are able to secure all of the sides so that the filling doesn't ooze out while baking.
Remember the remaining liquid from the filling that you set aside and saved? Brush the tops of each hand pie with just a touch of that remaining liquid, and then sprinkle each pie with a little sprinkle of sugar.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees around to ensure even cooking, until the tops are just golden. Let cool slightly before serving.
The apple whiskey adds a richness to the filling, and the mini marshmallows give it just an extra padding of sweetness and texture. And of course, the apple-cinnamon taste combo is always a winner.
You can also add some freshly cut peaches into this recipe, or even some mini caramel chips.
And, don't forget to enjoy this with an apple whiskey cocktail to complete the whole delicious fall eating and drinking experience.
Want the recipe for this apple whiskey sour? Leave me a comment and let me know! If there are enough folks, I'll feature the cocktail recipe in a future post!
Apple Whiskey Hand Pies
- 3 medium to large apples peeled and chopped
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup apple whiskey
- ½ cup mini marshmallows
- 2 sheets of pre-made or homemade puff pastry
- approximately 2 Tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the mixture for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the apple whiskey, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Turn heat off and allow the mixture to cool for just a minute.
- Meanwhile, take out the puff pastry sheets and roll out over an even surface, such as a large cutting board or rolpat mat.
- Cut each puff pastry sheet evenly into rectangles.
- On the bottom half of each rectangle, place about 1-2 Tablespoons of filling in the middle. Top each with 4-6 mini marshmallows. Set aside the remaining liquid from the filling; you'll use this toward the end.
- Gently fold over the top of each rectangle and pinch together the edges. If you have extra pastry in some spots, simply fold them up a bit, then pinch to close.
- Using a knife, cut 3-4 small slits at the top of each pastry.
- Using a knife or fork, you can gently press into the edges of each pastry to create a striped design. This also helps keep the pastry from puffing up and out too much.
- Taking the reserve liquid, brush a small amount over the tops of the pastries.
- Sprinkle a little sugar over each pastry.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.