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apple hand pies

Ryan Hughley

Quick Apple Hand Pies

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Ready your butter, your flour, your sugar for 33 flaky, fruity, chocolatey and nutty Southern pies

Pie baking season is my favorite season of all (no offense to spring vegetable season or summer grilling season). It's got butter and sugar and fruit in spades, plus plenty of chocolate and nuts for balance. I'll bake pies for just about any occasion this time of year, from casual Friday evening dinner parties to show-stopping holiday meals. 

And while I know that some of you may be intimidated at the prospect of baking pies from scratch — never fear. We've got easy pie crust recipes and baking tips galore, plus a few shortcut recipes that don't require pulling out the pastry blender at all. (Just don't tell my grandmother!)

Pie baking season is a long one, so to make sure you never run out of ideas to try, here are 33 Southern Kitchen-approved recipes to keep you busy.

Quick Apple Hand Pies
Sure, a homemade deep dish apple pie is a thing of wonder, but when it comes to quick and easy desserts, these short-cut apple hand pies can't be beat. Instead of taking the time to work with a homemade pie dough, make these hand-held apple hand pies using store-bought puff pastry. Cook the apples so that their natural liquid is released to form a delicious caramel sauce. That's what we call good Southern cooking.
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key lime pie
Key Lime Pie
To make an authentic-tasting Key lime pie without the requisite Key limes, we like to bake ours with a mix of Persian lime and lemon juice. This touch of lemon will temper and balance the tart lime without needing to resort to dumping even more sugar into the dessert. The proportions are entirely up to you — and Key lime pie is easy enough that you should have no trouble baking through as many as you need in order to land on your perfect ratio. If you can, however, get your hands on fresh Florida Key limes, feel free to juice those in this recipe. 
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chocolate meringue tarts
Annie Lou's Chocolate Meringue Tarts
Between their rich and seriously chocolatey filling and ethereally light meringue, these miniature chocolate meringue tarts are a Southern classic. This recipe is particularly resourceful — and easy — as it makes use of both the egg whites and yolks, and it calls for pre-made pastry shells instead of homemade. That's a win-win in our book.
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squash pie
Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan Crust
If you are looking for a subtle change in the traditional Thanksgiving spread or simply a little tired of pumpkin-flavored everything in the fall season, then this butternut squash pie is just for you. The simple gluten-free pecan crust comes together in minutes and adds texture to the sweet custard filling. This recipe can be ahead of time, and you can easily jazz it up with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon.
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lemon chess pie
Lemon Chess Pie
Georgia native and the founder of Southern Baked Pie Company, chef Amanda Wilbanks has perfected pies and desserts that exude Southern charm. In her new cookbook, Southern Baked, Wilbanks shares family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of those recipes is her lemon chess pie. The citrus twist on the classic Southern pie adds a splash of flavor and tartness to the dessert.
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pecan pie
Southern Kitchen's Pecan Pie
Nothing beats a classic pecan pie when it comes to holiday dessert, and our recipe offers just that. With a mix of molasses, brown sugar and dark corn syrup, the filling is sweet, sure, but also robust in flavor — the perfect foil to nutty, rich pecans. 
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meringue pie with strawberries
Angel Berry Pie
Called angel pie, heavenly pie or the admittedly less seductive upside-down meringue pie, this dessert is simply a meringue base, filled with cream, fruit, curds and (occasionally) syrups. When it inevitably falls apart into a delicious jumble, it is almost an Eton Mess, or Lanton Mess, depending on what fruit is on top. Whatever you call it, this pie is a secret weapon of bakers across the country, but especially in the South, a pantry-ingredient pie that looks like a celebration dessert and is just as good for breakfast as it is before your evening nightcap.
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blueberry peach pie
Blueberry Lavender Peach Pie
Peaches and blueberries may not still be at their peak, but this lavender-scented pie with a buttery lattice crust is just as good made with thawed frozen fruit. This recipe was provided by Cynthia Hoyt of Darling Down South.
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chocolate chess pie
Chocolate Chess Pie
This chocolate-filled and cream-topped twist on classic chess pie comes to us courtesy of blogger Kate Wood, of the blog Wood and Spoonwhere the recipe first appeared. She adapted her recipe from her husband's grandmother's recipe card, amping up the cocoa content here and decreasing the sugar there. But her truly genius move was to top the whole thing with a billowing mound of lightly sweetened chocolate whipped cream. The extra bitterness from the cocoa and richness from the cream balances out the sugary sweet filling, and it gives the whole thing a lushness we've never before experienced from a chess pie.
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buttermilk pie
Anne Byrn's Shaker Buttermilk Pie
Thick from whole-fat buttermilk, rich from butter and egg, and flavored with sugar and vanilla, buttermilk pie is a Southern and Midwestern mainstay. It's a cousin to chess pie, which has roots in England and is popular in Tennessee, where it is thickened with a little cornmeal and seasoned with a little vinegar to give it the acidic twang of lemon.
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chocolate mousse pie
Chocolate Mousse Pie
Rich and decadent, this pie is about as easy to make as it gets. The only real trick is to remember to allow the filling plenty of time to set in the refrigerator before slicing; overnight is preferred. For a fun twist on s’mores, you can skip the final dollop of whipped cream and garnish the pie with toasted marshmallows.
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apple galette with ice cream
Easy Apple Galette
This rustic apple galette might look like a lot of effort, but in reality, it comes together in half an hour. A food processor makes this free-form pastry a cinch with little cleanup. The best part is you can use this recipe year-round, interchanging with whatever fruit is in season — strawberries in spring, peaches in summer, apples in fall, and pears in winter. Serve with your favorite ice cream or freshly whipped cream.
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chocolate peanut butter pie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Chocolate and peanut butter are such an iconic combination, and this chilled mousse pie lets both flavors share top billing. While this recipe is easy, even for beginners, we do have a few tips: After the crust has been baked, make sure that each layer has set before adding the next. For the glossiest glaze, allow the hot cream mixture to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes before mixing in the chocolate.
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derby pie
Chocolate and Nut Kentucky Pie
The original name of this pie, which is often associated with the Kentucky Derby, is strictly copyrighted by Kern's Kitchen, a pie company based in Louisville. For our version, we've used equal parts chocolate and walnuts, and spiced up the filling with a generous splash of bourbon. Its sturdy, almost cookie-like filling makes this a great dessert to eat out of hand at any outdoor event.
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sweet potato pie
Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallows and Pecan Streusel
This pie captures the essence of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, but rightfully presented in a dessert format. Don’t be intimidated by homemade marshmallows: with a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, the process is actually very easy. You can also substitute store-bought marshmallow Fluff for the homemade marshmallows; simply dollop or pipe it around the edges of the pie. You will have extra streusel, but it tastes great on ice cream.
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upside down apple pecan pie
Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie
This clever recipe comes courtesy of Southern Kitchen reader Joann Conway. Conway said she was first inspired to make the pie while traveling and picking up a free booklet containing a similar recipe. The original recipe, by Elizabeth Deer, was a winner of the North Carolina Consumer Apple Recipe contest in 2004. Conway, however, has upped the molasses flavor by using all brown sugar and increased the ooey gooey sauce by adding more butter to the base. Home-mixed apple pie spice also helped to build flavor and a lighter touch with the pecans makes for a more elegant presentation.
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Want even more great pies? Try these recipes:
Buttermilk Pie
Banana Peanut Butter Cream Pie
Black Bottom Pie
Orange Buttermilk Chess Pie from South City Kitchen
Caramel Pie
Fried Apple Hand Pies
Chocolate Fried Pies with Toffee Sauce
Georgia Peach and Pecan Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Peach Ice Cream Pie
Lemon Chiffon Pie
Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie
Classic Sweet Potato Pie
Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie
Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
We-Can't-Have-Thanksgiving-Without-This Pecan Pie

Photos (key lime pie, angel berry pie, chocolate chess pie, chocolate and nut pie): Kate Williams
Photos (chocolate meringue tarts, buttermilk pie): Danielle Atkins
Photos (butternut squash pie, quick apple galette): Catherine Baker
Photo (lemon chess pie): Gill Autrey
Photos (pecan pie, chocolate mousse pie, chocolate peanut butter pie, sweet potato pie): Ramona King
Photo (blueberry lavender peach pie): Cynthia Hoyt
Photo (upside-down apple pie): Maura Friedman


Author image

Kate Williams is the editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She is also an on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She has been working in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

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