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Pumpkin-shaped hand pies filled with apples, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Perfect kids treat for Halloween.
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5 from 26 votes

{High-Altitude} Jack-O-Lantern Apple Hand Pies

 Little hand pies shaped like pumpkins that are filled with chopped apples, and spiced with ginger, cinnamon and cardmom. A perfect Halloween treat for both kids and adults.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hand pies
Servings: 12 (with some dough left over)
Author: The Wimpy Vegetarian


For the Pastry

  • 2 3/4 cups 12.75 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ice water or as needed

For the Apple Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups peeled and diced apples, Honey Crisp and Braeburn work well
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Lightly Dried Ginger (link for product is in the above post) this isn't the spice ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt

To Finish


For the Pastry:

  • Make the pastry first, and make the filling while the dough chills. Or just purchase your own favorite frozen pastry. It's not that difficult to make your own, though, so I encourage you to give it a try. There's nothing better than homemade pastry crust. The portions are calculated for high altitude baking. If you're making this at sea level, see the notes below for the changes you'll need to make. 
  • I use a food processor, but I caution you to never do anything but pulse. You don't want the butter to be completely mixed in. It's the butter pieces that gives you a flakey crust that you just can't buy. 
  • First pulse the flour and salt - and yes please weigh the flour! Then add the butter all at once. Pulse around 10 times, remove the lid, and check the size of the butter pieces by dipping a fork into the flour. they should be around size of a pea. Whisk together the sour cream and apple cider vinegar, and add all at once. Pulse a few times, and check the dough before adding the ice water. Pinch some of the flour mixture between your fingers. If it's ready, it should form a piece of dough without falling apart. If it crumbles start adding a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Go here for a step-by step, including rolling the dough out, with pictures. 
  • When ready, gather it into 2 balls, flatten to discs using only your fingers, and wrap in wax paper. Chill for 30 minutes. While the dough chills, make the Apple Filling (below).
  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F, and line a baking sheep with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough between wax paper. Leave one disc of dough in the refrigerator while you work with the other one. Rolling dough between two sheets of wax paper makes rolling dough SO much easier and faster. Go to the link above for photos. Cut into pumpkin shapes using a cookie cutter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Apple Filling (instructions for making this are below) into the center of half of the pumpkins. Drape the remaining pumpkins over the tops, seal the sides, and crimp with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes. 
  • Baste the hand pies with half and half milk, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Use a sharp knife, cut out faces for your jack-o-lanterns. 
  • Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until lightly browned.

For the Apple Filling:

  • Melt the butter in a small sauté pan, and add the remaining Apple Filling ingredients. Gently simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.


Making these jack-o-lanterns at sea level? Here are some changes to the ingredients you'll need - otherwise the dough will be too wet to work with. I bake at 7000 feet, and it makes a difference. For every 1000 feet lower in altitude, add 1 tablespoon of flour. At sea level to 2500 feet (roughly), use 3 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. No other changes to the ingredients need to be made. At sea level, your baking time will be closer to 30 minutes, but I recommend you check them at 20 minutes.
Be sure NOT to substitute the Gourmet Garden's Lightly Dried Ginger 1:1 with ground ginger spice. They are not the same thing. If you don't have it, either omit it, or add grated fresh ginger. I've included a link to the product in the body of the post under Tips for Making Apple Hand Pies.