As my blog tag line states, these are my experiments in the kitchen. This recipe definitely falls into that category! It is still very much a work in progress. Most recipes I post I’m in the process of making them as I’m writing up the blog post. This one is not one of those. In fact, I made it twice before I posted this recipe. And it’s still not perfect. I’m not completely satisfied, even though it turned out tasty.

OK, so I do like a challenge. One of the bartenders at one of my favorite waterholes is vegan. She was commenting on the fact that so few people make desserts that are vegan; even though there are a lot of alternatives for butter, eggs, and other dairy products. I gave it some thought, looked in my favorite cookbook, and found a pie crust that used vegetable shortening instead of butter or lard. Growing up in Spokane, WA. there was a bakery close to where we lived and made hand pies. You know, sort of like what Hostess makes. You could buy, and I’m seriously dating myself here, 6 for $1.00 (or that’s what I remember anyway). I thought this would be perfect, I’d make apple hand pies!

One thing I did learn from this is that unlike traditional pie crusts, where keeping it cold is ideal for a perfect crust, this one does not work that way. The first time I made it I tried keeping it cold, it cracked at every opportunity. The second time I started out with it cold but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. So I warmed it up and the dough stopped cracking. Unfortunately, it also didn’t come out flakey either, it was somewhat dry. Hence it is a work in progress, I’ll keep working at it. But it is nice to have a vegan dessert in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water


  • 3 apples, I used granny smith
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 and 2
  • 4 tbsp Calvados*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch


  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados*


To make the pie crust I use my Cuisinart food processor. Add in the flour and salt, pulse a couple of times to combines. Add in the vegetable shortening in little chunks. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse cornmeal or peas. Add in the water one tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine; until the dough holds together without cracking but isn’t moist. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.

For the filling; peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil and add in the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and Calvados. Saute until the apples just start to soften. Add in the corn starch and cook for another minute or so, until it thickens. Cool.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″. I used a 6″ biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Scoop 1 tbsp of the apple filling onto the dough, wet the edges, and fold it over. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  Bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and Calvados, beat until smooth. Drizzle over the hand pies once they’ve cooled.

*You can substitute apple juice for the Calvados (which is apple brandy) if you like.


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