Chef Jason French says this hand-pie recipe was developed anticipating autumn’s signature ingredients and comes from his “love of apple pie — empanada style — and Riesling. It combines the deepest of flavors — the sweetness and richness — without jeopardizing the apple at the center of the dish. Taking the McDonald’s pie from youth and bringing it up to a culinary level.” It's a perfect fall dish for gatherings of all shapes and sizes. 

Preparation time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours | Difficulty: Medium | Makes 6 single-serving hand pies


Riesling raisins

5-1/2 cups, packed, (2 pounds) golden raisins

2 cups (1 pound) granulated sugar

1 bottle Pacific Northwest Riesling

Pinch of salt

Apple filling

6 McIntosh or Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar 

2 teaspoons ground coriander seed

2 teaspoons ground star anise

A few pinches of salt

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 cup Riesling raisins


1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

5 large preferably farm-fresh eggs, room temperature

3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

3/8 teaspoon baking powder

Good pinch of salt

Brown sugar-sour cream sauce

1 quart sour cream

3 cups brown sugar, packed, or by weight 22.5 ounces (1 pound plus 6.5 ounces)

Small pinch of salt

To serve

Freshly grated nutmeg


Prep tips: The apples and raisins can be cooked at the same time and should take about a half hour. Prep time for the dough is half hour; allow 45 minutes to 1 hour to include resting time. Make the sauce while the dough is resting or the pies are baking. To avoid a last-minute rush, make the filling, dough and/or sauce 1 to 2 days ahead and refrigerate. Bring everything to room temperature before proceeding.

Riesling raisins

Put the raisins, sugar, Riesling and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Lower heat to medium-high and reduce mixture until raisins are well-coated and the liquid is a thin syrup. Stir frequently so raisins plump evenly with Riesling and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

(Leftover Riesling raisins can be refrigerated in a lidded glass jar and used as a condiment for cheese or charcuterie or a topping for ice cream or spice breads.)

Apple filling

Combine apples, sugar, spices, salt and ginger in a sauce pot. Stir well to combine and cook over medium-high heat for 10 to12 minutes or until apples just begin to soften.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (do not refrigerate).

Add the cup of Riesling raisins to the apple mixture and stir well.


While the apple and raisin flavors blend, make the dough. Combine the butter and sugar in a food processor and blend for 30 to 40 seconds or until consistency is like course sand. Add eggs one at a time and pulse to incorporate.

Add flour, baking powder and salt and pulse until the dough comes together; it will be soft and slightly sticky.

Scrape onto a floured surface and pat into a flat disc. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll each into a ball. Press each ball into a circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or overnight. Be sure to return to room temperature before rolling out.

Hand pies

With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle 3 to 4 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Place 1/2 cup filling in the center of each. Using a spatula, carefully fold one side over and press lightly to seal or use the tines of a fork to impress a nice pattern across the crescent.

Place individual pies on a sheet pan and allow to rest and chill in the refrigerator for a half hour. 

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brown sugar-sour cream sauce

Whisk together the sour cream and brown sugar until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt. 

(Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in a lidded container up to one week. Suggestions: drizzle on roasted squash or spice breads or use to garnish pastries or as a versatile base for creamy salad dressings or a dip for apple slices.)


Carefully transfer the pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (or other nonstick baking mat) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let pies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes.

To serve, plate the hand pies and top generously with sour cream sauce and perhaps some freshly grated nutmeg. Pair with a crisp Pacific Northwest Riesling.

Riesling Raisin And Apple Hand Pies With Brown Sugar-Sour Cream Sauce.   

Riesling Raisin And Apple Hand Pies With Brown Sugar-Sour Cream Sauce.


As published on OPB by Joe Mancuso 10/17/2015