The holiday party outfit selection process is an extensive one.

It requires at least five changes of attire, one round of tears because nothing fits quite right, six roommate consultations.  And a partridge in a pear tree.

All before deciding to just go back to our first choice.

Yeah, this is totally supposed to be “fun”.



Word to the wise.

Just like Thanksgiving is all about the dessert side dishes.  Fashion is all about the accessories.


Pants, skirts, halter tops, whatever.

No one cares so long as you’re the girl walking in with the hand pies.

(And cute dangly earrings.)

They’re the new designer dog.  Soon Paris Hilton is going to be walking around with them peeking out of her handbag and you can be all “been there, done that”.

Man, we are such trendsetters. I love it.


These were the dessert that I brought to our blogger Thanksgiving.  And knowing that I had these in tow, I didn’t even think twice about what to wear.

After all, you can win people over faster with an ooey gooey delicious caramel pecan filling and flaky buttery pastry dough than you can with leopard print leggings.  That’s just a fact.

So let’s stress about caramelizing sugar instead of what pumps we should wear with what fingernail color, mmkay?  Trust me.  The payoff.  Is way better.

Picnik collage

Caramel Pecan Hand Pies
Makes 16, adapted from Food and Wine 


  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
  • 3/4 cup ice water
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (6 oz)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 large eggs, 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling


  1. In a large (preferably 12-cup) food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the ice water over the dough and pulse in 1-second bursts until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. On a floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of the dough to a 16-inch square, a scant 1/4 inch thick. Using a small pot lid or plate (5 1/2 to 6 inches) as a template, cut out as many dough rounds as possible. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Reroll the scraps, chilling if necessary, for a total of 12-16 dough rounds. Transfer the pastry rounds to parchment paper–lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Cook over moderate heat, swirling the pan gently once the caramel begins to form, until the caramel is medium-amber, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, cream, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Transfer 1 cup of the caramel to a large bowl and let cool slightly. (Save any remaining caramel for later use.) Whisk the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the corn syrup, honey and maple syrup into the caramel in the bowl. Whisk in the 4 unbeaten eggs until smooth. Add the pecans and a generous pinch of salt.
  5. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Pour the pecan filling into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until set. Let cool slightly, then scrape the pecan filling into a bowl and gently stir to recombine. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  6. Working with one baking sheet at a time, brush the pastry surfaces lightly with some of the beaten egg. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of the pecan filling onto each round and fold the pastry over to make a turnover. Press the edges to seal and crimp with the tines of a floured fork. Refrigerate the hand pies while you prepare the rest.
  7. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Using a sharp knife, make a small slit in the top of each pie. Bake the pies in the middle and lower thirds of the oven for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the pies cool on the baking sheets before serving.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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80 Responses to Caramel Pecan Hand Pies

  1. Its like a vision of beauty! Really, could you make this southern girl lover her hand pies even moer than I already do? That is one hard task to accomplish but I think you managed it. I love this idea and the dough/crust looks perfect

  2. Oh man, I just want to reach into my computer screen and grab one of these!! Yum!!

  3. Kim says:

    Oh yes, the dreaded “what to wear” dilemma. This is probably why I’ve just made the switch to yoga pants and tshirts. I can’t be bothered to think about what to wear. I have caramel, pecans and pie crust, and several other ingredients to think about:)

    Wow do these look delicious! I’m loving all that maple syrup.

  4. Amy says:

    Oh, man – these look so good! A delicious, portable pie!

  5. Pam says:

    I want to be accesorized with these!!

  6. Hannah says:

    These would be such a hit at any party… Sounds perfectly decadent! I also like the fact that they’re individually portioned already so you don’t have to share.

  7. I’m sorry, were you saying something? ;P I got distracted by those fantastical hand-pies. Okay, not only would the hand-pies distract people…so would the name. It sounds so dirty. They sound amazing!!

  8. Beth says:

    Those hand pies look absolutely decadent! What a great treat to take to a party. Or to eat by yourself in the kitchen. Or both!

  9. patsy says:

    They were sooooo good! Thanks for sharing them with us! I do think that dessert is the best part of any meal… and I’ll have to make these for friends soon. 🙂

  10. Gorgeous! It’s times like these that I really wished I ate nuts!

  11. daphne says:

    Crispy, warm, gooey..that’s what I am thinking when I read the recipe. Will be a winner!!

  12. bellini says:

    You’ve won me over Joanne!!

  13. Lyndsey says:

    Wow! What could be better than ooey gooey delicious caramel pecan filling? What tell me you didn’t wear leopard leggings? :O You sound like my daughter! But then she has her own style too!

  14. I really wanted to see one of these broke open, I guess I’ll have to make them!

  15. Joanne, you did it again! I am once more speechless staring at those gorgeous photos and drooling….

  16. brocstar says:

    Ooh those are pretty… there’s a bakery need my old apartment that sells seasonal hand pies. I could never resist when I went there. (I had to stop going!)
    I love shiny, slightly browned, sugar-on-top pie crust.

  17. Da, these look wonderful. I would love to make it, but I don’t have the patients. Whenever I work with pastry, it looks liek a kindergartner made it! lol By the way the photos of the Pecan Pies are gorgeous!

  18. elly says:

    These look nothing short of amazing. I’ll take two for breakfast.

  19. Love those pecans…they look so tempting ….lovely recipe …delicious!

  20. Amy says:

    I am completely fashion challenged. All I know is, don’t wear over-alls if you’re over the age of 8. Everything else is lost on me. Goodness, look at those pockets of beauty! Swoooon.

  21. Yes! I can forever not worry about what to wear and just bring food for distraction. I love this concept. And, the filling in these hand pies. They look delicious!

  22. Ranjani says:

    yes! I wanted to make hand pies all summer but never got around to it, and you have reminded me that they don’t have to be filled with fruit!

  23. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, I am sure that you looked wonderful, with or without dangly earrings. Pecan pies are one of my favorite desserts. Blessings, Catherine xo

  24. Jessie says:

    Boy, oh, boy – you’ve won me over with these caramel pecan pies, Joanne (not that you didn’t before 😉 ). I’m totally going to be carrying these around in my designer hand purse, because, of course, I am the epitome of high fashion.

    I’ll bet these were a huge hit at the blogger Thanksgiving, and I know I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off them (in the cleanest way possible, I swear). Love the new accessory!

    Have a great week, Joanne!

  25. Jenna says:

    I love your method for ingratiating yourself with people–food! You’re right–always a better choice than leopard print leggings. Though you could probably rock those as well with your runner’s legs, just sayin’.

  26. I think I might be mad that you didn’t share one of these with me yesterday… or maybe I should be thankful? They look amazing! And you look great in everything so wear whatever you want on Saturday:-)

  27. Big Dude says:

    One might think you’re turning into a southern gal.

  28. girl you totally speak my language.
    don’t you love all the caramel recipes that are all over the place lately? Yes please

  29. sofia says:

    hot damn. these are drool-worthy. you are so right – people like the girl who brings the delicious edible goods. mmmmmmmmm!

  30. Caramel + pecan = match made in dessert heaven. These hand pies look gorgeous!

  31. Katerina says:

    Perfect treat for a party and a good excuse to make new friends!

  32. I want to grab one of these hand pies! I’d eat a lot of caramel and pecan on the go 🙂

  33. I see what you mean about these pies taking all the focus. I had to check whose blog I am reading now, lost focus:)

  34. Deborah says:

    I’m sure these were the star of the evening!!

  35. Kristen says:

    I am thinking that I would much rather meet someone with hand pies in her purse instead of a yippy dog. Those sound wonderful.

  36. Pam says:

    You trendsetter you. I.WANT.A.PIE.NOW. Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? Thank you.

  37. Lora says:

    That filling look deee-vine!

  38. Mary says:

    These look awesome. I need to tuck a couple in my bag tonight. 😉

  39. Pierce says:

    I am inspired. Those would be head turners at ANY party. I’d like to see the dangle earrings though.

  40. these totally remind me of the apple pies my mom used to make when I was younger. Dee-lish! And yes, if you’re bringing these – you could be wearing your pj’s and no one would notice.

  41. tigerfish says:

    Hand pie hand pie…such a simple but great idea to make it so “handy”. OK. Hand me that pie(s) please? 😛

  42. Sarah Caron says:

    Wait, what were you wearing? I only remember the delicious hand pies (including the one for breakfast the next day). Mmmm.


    I can vouch that these really are amazingly good.

  43. OohLookBel says:

    These remind me of my favourite apple turnovers, except they’re caramel and pecan – even better! Hoping that pies become the new ‘it’ thing so that we can be trendsetters.

  44. Love these 😀 perfect for picnics too!!

  45. These look incredible Joanne! I think these just made their way onto my Christmas dessert list 🙂

  46. Shannon says:

    oh wow, how awesome. i’m loving the hand pies/pop tarts ever since i made my own version 🙂 and i’m toying with the idea of trying to make my own caramels… i’ve done caramel sauce just not gone all the way to candy! thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Ben says:

    You call them them hand pies, I call them empanadas, hehe. Either way they look delicious! And you should always go with the first choice, that’s always the best 😀

  48. SEO Services says:

    I’ve never seen anything like these! I like pecan pie and I LOVE caramel, so these sound beyond divine for my tongue. Yum, can’t wait to try them out!!


  49. Sippity Sup says:

    Hand pies are the new big little thing! GREG

  50. Jessica says:

    …butter…pecans…heavy cream…honey… I think I just fell in love!

  51. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my word. I want to see what the inside looks like!!

  52. Eden says:

    WAH!!!!! I want to go to a blogger thanksgiving!
    Make your way to LA, ok?

  53. Megan says:

    I tried on so many dresses this weekend trying to find something to wear to my office holiday party! And I didn’t find anything. I’ll probably just end up wearing a plain black dress. I wish I could accessorize with hand pies!

    P.S. I’m starting to think we read all the same magazines. I seriously considered making these for Thanksgiving but went with the salted caramel pie instead.

  54. Reeni says:

    How absolutely sinful! I’d grab one in each hand and hide in the corner to eat them. Then repeat. If there were any left!

  55. vianney says:

    This is a trend I could totally dive right into, yummy!

  56. Swathi says:

    Delicious, I love hand made pies, Pecans make it more special.

  57. these wouldn’t even last 5 seconds in my hands.

  58. You had me at caramel pecan. Anything.


  59. They look fabulous and ever so tempting.



  60. Foodycat says:

    How utterly divine. You could turn up wearing pyjamas and nobody would mind!

  61. Johanna GGG says:

    these sound amazing – I would much prefer these sort of assessories – I spend ages agonising over what to bring to eat to a gathering and often just throw on any clothes and find they have food stains on them anyway

  62. Rock star pictures, Miss Joanne! I gave my extra hand pie to my Mom, and she loved it, every last speck.

  63. You know how to pick a filling.

  64. Chris says:

    So cute and a perfect little package! Oh, and the hand pies look good too! 😉

  65. Anyone bringing these little pies would be welcomed anywhere, I’m sure! 🙂 Delicious!

  66. My Picadillo says:

    OMG Joanne! These look scrumptious you can even serve them a la mode. Yummy

  67. I hate my life a little right now. All I want is one of these little pies =*(

  68. grace says:

    hand pies are awesome, and i love the things you’ve stuffed into these. very tasty, joanne!

  69. That Girl says:

    My biggest problem with holiday fashion is that I tend to get things “for the holidays” and then never wear them again!

  70. sally says:

    My husband would love love love these. I’m definitely going to bookmark this recipe!

  71. Casey says:

    These must be such fun to eat.

  72. Ohhh man these sound and look seriously amazing! I love the mix of sugars in it.

  73. These look fabulous, sweet and decadent. 😉

  74. Oooo, if it is possible to look beautiful and rustic at the same time, it’s these pies. Yummmm!!

  75. annie says:

    I just read your last several posts…such lovely photos and the yummiest food ever…oh my gosh I am all of a sudden so hungry…for something sweet and savory!

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