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Pecan Hand Pies

There’s no slicing or serving with these Pecan Hand Pies. Just grab one and enjoy!

Pecan Hand Pies on a pewter plate

Mini Pecan Hand Pies

One of my all-time favorite desserts is pecan pie. It’s been a staple in my baking for many years, but I’m always thinking of new ways to make it, with additional flavors or some other twist. And these Pecan Hand Pies are one of my favorite twists on the classic.

These little pies turn pecan pie into a grab-and-eat treat. There’s no slicing and serving. Just pick up one of these and enjoy!

The filling is a little different than traditional pecan pie. It’s less gooey with the absence of corn syrup. Instead, it’s a simple mixture of butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and pecans that I think works better for filling these pies. Despite the differences, you’ll still get the great flavor of a sweet pecan filling that you love.

For these pies, I like to use one of my favorite pastry doughs. You can, of course, use a traditional pie crust recipe, but this simple dough made with cream cheese is perfect for hand pies and mini pies. It mixes easily and handles so well.

These Pecan Hand Pies are a great alternative to traditional pecan pie, especially for those of you who don’t like to use corn syrup or don’t have easy access to it. Plus, they’re just the kind of individual treats that add a perfect grab-and-eat option to dessert time!

If you love these little hand pies, try Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies, Chocolate Hand Pies, and Ginger Lemon Hand Pies, too!

Pecan Hand Pies served on a pewter plate

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients.

For the pastry:

  • Unsalted butter – This should be cold when mixed. To keep it nice and cold, I recommend cutting it into cubes and returning it to the refrigerator for several minutes before mixing.
  • Cream cheese – Unlike the butter, the cream cheese should be soft, so set it out so it can come to room temperature. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure accurately, either by weight or with the spoon and sweep method. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt

For the filling:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Brown sugar – Either light or dark brown sugar works here, depending on how strong you want that molasses flavor.
  • Pecans – Chop these into small pieces, or skip a step and buy pecan pieces.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

For the assembly:

  • Egg – You’ll be making a simple egg wash with just an egg and a little water to help the pies brown nicely. In addition, it will help the sanding sugar stick to the tops of the pies.
  • Water
  • Sanding sugar – This is optional but adds a nice bite of sweetness and crunch, along with a pretty sparkle!
overhead view of Pecan Hand Pies piled on a dark surface

How to Make Pecan Hand Pies

You’ll be making an easy dough for the crust along with a simple filling. A food processor makes quick work of the pastry dough, but you can mix it with a pastry blender or a fork if you prefer. Be sure to factor in the chilling time for the dough when making your baking plans.

Make the Pastry

Combine the ingredients. Place the butter, cream cheese, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough forms. This should take about a minute.

Divide and chill. Form the dough into two discs, using half of the dough for each. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can chill the dough longer, but you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling.

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Roll and cut out the dough. Place one of the discs of dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds using a cutter. (I use a 2 & 3/4-inch cutter for these.) Gather and re-roll the dough once and cut out more rounds. Then repeat with the remaining dough disc. You should have about 40 rounds.

Make slits in the dough. Use a sharp knife to make a small slit in the center of half of the dough rounds. You can make a single cut or an X like the ones pictured here.

Make the Filling and Assemble

Mix the filling ingredients. Stir together the butter, brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Fill the pies. Place about 2 teaspoons of the filling mixture in the center of the dough rounds that don’t have a slit cut in them. Spread the filling, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the outside.

Top and seal. Place the dough rounds with the slits on top of the filled dough rounds. Press the edges together, and then use a fork or some other tool to press down on the edges to seal.

Make the egg wash. Whisk together the egg and water. Then, lightly brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash. (You won’t need all of the egg wash.)

Add sanding sugar. If you like, sprinkle the tops of the pies with a pinch or so of coarse sugar, using either a white sanding sugar or another coarse sugar like turbinado.

Bake. Place one pan at a time in the heated oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pies are golden brown.

Cool. Place the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer the pies from the pans directly onto a wire rack to cool completely.

a Pecan Hand Pie with a bite missing, on a plate with two more pies

Tips for Success

  • Make in advance. Unlike a lot of baked goods, these pies are actually better the day after they’re baked. That makes them a great make-ahead dessert for those of us who like to get things done in advance and also makes them great for gifting if you like to make homemade treats for friends and family.
  • Don’t have a food processor? You can mix the dough with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers.
  • Change the crust. I think you’ll love this crust, but you can also use your favorite pie crust recipe if you prefer.
  • Don’t over-fill. Too much filling in these pies, and they won’t stay sealed well.
  • Don’t skip the egg wash. It will help your hand pies brown nicely. And if the edges of your pies aren’t holding together well after assembling, brush a little bit between the top and bottom edges to help it stick better.

How to Store Leftovers

After the pies have cooled, place them in an airtight container. They should keep at room temperature up to 3 days. If you like to serve them warm, heat them briefly in the microwave or a low-temperature oven.

Can These Hand Pies Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze these Pecan Hand Pies! After they’ve cooled completely, wrap each pie in plastic wrap and place them inside an airtight, freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Properly stored, they should keep in the freezer up to 2 months. Unwrap and thaw for an hour or two at room temperature.

Pecan Hand Pies on a dark surface

Pecan Hand Pies

Yield about 20 pies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

These grab-and-eat Pecan Hand Pies are such a great twist on a classic dessert!

Pecan Hand Pies on a dark surface

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, softened & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 & 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60g) chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For assembling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sanding sugar

Instructions

To make the pastry:

  1. Place the butter, cream cheese, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.* Pulse for about a minute, or until a dough forms.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and form each portion into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you need to refrigerate longer, then you may need to let the dough sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before rolling it out.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  4. Place one disc of the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 2 & 3/4-inch round cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Gather and re-roll the remaining dough once as needed. Repeat with the remaining disc of dough. (You'll have about 40 cut-outs.)
  5. Make a small slit (a single cut or an X) in the center of half of the dough rounds.

To make the filling:

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined.

To assemble:

  1. Place about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the dough rounds without a slit. Spread over the dough, leaving about 1/4 inch border.
  2. Place the dough rounds with the slit on top of each of filled dough round. Press the edges to seal. Use a fork or other tool to seal the edges further.
  3. Whisk together the egg and water. Lightly brush the tops of each pie with the mixture. (You won't use all of the egg wash.)
  4. Sprinkle a pinch or two fo sanding sugar on top of each pie.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pies are golden brown. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

*I recommend a food processor with at least an 11-cup capacity for this volume of dough. Alternatively, you can mix with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers.

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    10 Comments on “Pecan Hand Pies”

  1. They are beautiful. I can’t wait to try making them.

  2. Dip these freeze well?

  3. I would like to make these and send them to a service member. Do they need to be refrigerated?

    • They don’t need to be refrigerate if they’ll be eaten within a few days. I’ve not tried shipping them, but I might try shipping them frozen. They’ll thaw by the time they get to their destination and extend their freshness.

  4. I love pecan pie! These hand pies look so delicious!

  5. These look delicious. Will defintely have a go at making these. I love that you add the gram weight of ingredients next to the ‘cup’ measurement. Those of us in the UK really appreciate this, Thank you!

  6. Hi, just found these. They are so pretty. Just wondering how you got the edges to look so fluted. Did you just use a fork or something more fancy?  Would love my pies to look this cute!!!

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