With a sticky, sweet caramelized apple filling, these fried apple hand pies are one the most perfect and delicious desserts for autumn. The little pies are coated in a puff pastry crust and fried until golden brown, then coated in cinnamon sugar, making a heavenly combination when paired with the caramel apple filling! You can leave them as is, or attach a few skewers into the bases to create a fuss-free, festive presentation.
Make the Caramelized Apple Filling
Place the apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon stick (if using), allspice, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
Heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are caramelized and beginning to soften, about 12 minutes. Turn off from the heat and stir in the bourbon or brandy (if using), lemon juice, vanilla bean extract and salt. Remove the cinnamon stick and set aside to cool completely.
You can transfer the mixture into a bowl and set it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
Cut Out the Pastry
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and place the first sheet of puff pastry on it. Using a circular pastry or cookie cutter, about 3 inches (7.6 centimetres) in diameter, cut out as many circles as possible. You should get about 9 per sheet.
Repeat with the remaining sheet of puff pastry. Place the pastry circles on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.
If you don’t have a circular pastry or cookie cutter you can use a round glass for the same effect.
Assemble the Pies
Place 1 teaspoon of the cooled filling within the center of each pastry circle.
Use your fingers to pinch the seams firmly together, then use a fork to make deep impressions into the pastry to seal it completely. Place the apple pies on a lined baking tray and in the refrigerator whilst you prepare the frying stage and the cinnamon sugar.
Make the Cinnamon Sugar
Next, make the cinnamon sugar. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon until evenly combined. Set aside.
Pour the vegetable oil into a deep heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-low, until the oil reaches 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
Fry the pies, about 2 to 3 at a time, until they are golden brown all over. It should take about 1 minute per side. Make sure to adjust the heat and give them a gentle flip as necessary. Place the pies on the lined baking tray or dish to drain any excess oil.
Coat in the Cinnamon Sugar
Once all the pies are fried, coat them in a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar.
Skewer and Serve!
Insert a wooden skewer into the bases of the hand pies to make them less messy to eat and also for a fun presentation. Serve the hand pies warm, ideally directly after making.
They can also be kept stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days.