My Air-Fryer Pecan Hand Pies are going to be your new favorite recipe this holiday season! Every bit as gooey, delicious and easy as a whole pie but baked into two-bite mini hand pies instead using the air fryer! (There’s oven directions here, too!)
So it is crazy for me to admit this, but I managed to skirt by high school without taking a major science class (!!!!)
Everyone would lament about how chemistry and physics were so dang hard and I was over there in earth science checking out rocks.
Lest you think I was an idiot child, I was in all “high-achiever” classes, AP classes and got straight A’s. So it wasn’t like I was behind or anything. I just never managed to get put into a chem or physics class. I only took earth science and biology, a class I barely have brain cells to remember because all we did was watch movies and examine petri dishes filled with god-only-knows what.
I went to a high school for my freshman – junior years that was perhaps a little more relaxed than say, my senior-year school. And at my first high school, psychology was considered a science for upperclassmen. So when I transferred my senior year, I was thinking it was the same thing at the new school. Not so, said the admin. I basically stated my case that learning about mental illnesses and occipital lobes constituted science and they agreed to let me graduate with psychology as my science requirement. No beakers and atoms for me, thanks.
Although had I taken those courses, I would have been able to take anatomy and forensics at my new school which is right up my alley. I probably could be a forensic pathologist at this point based on the number of books I’ve read and the number of corpse facts I know.
But my point is, without having taken science classes, I barely know how gravity works – I just accept that it does, like I accept that the world is round and aliens are real. You know, normal stuff. And yet, I managed to create a HANDHELD Pecan Hand Pie without the filling completely exploding everywhere. (I say ‘completely’ because it does leak out some – par for the course – but it remains 95% contained!). Hallelujah!!!
Pecan pies are one of my favorites but sometimes baking a big one is such a hassle. For one, it never cuts into pretty, clean slices. Whenever I make one for my blog, I have to take like half of the pie out just to get ONE good-looking, clean-edged slice. The result is a delicious, albeit mangled pie.
These hand pies cut out (pun intended) the hassle of mangled slices. They fit in the palm of your hand, are only two or three bites, and taste INCREDIBLE. They pack all of the same gooeiness, nuttiness and deliciousness of a traditional pie into a petite little thing.
The result is a handheld pecan pie that doesn’t skimp on the gooey or pecan factor and is great for a dessert tray or the upcoming holidays. Plus, they’re made in the air-fryer, which is my new favorite appliance du jour. Everyone has one nowadays and they’re so convenient because they don’t heat up your house AND they free up precious oven space this time of year when oven space is paramount for bigger things like turkeys and hams.
Keep in mind that these do leak a LITTLE bit but poking holes in the tops of the unbaked pies is necessary for ventilation purposes so the whole thing doesn’t explode everywhere. The key to keeping the filling contained relies in two things: tightly sealing the pie crust over the filling, and letting the filling set up and cool COMPLETELY before making the pies!
But whatever you do, PLEASE make these delectable little pies! I could NOT stop eating them and I know you won’t be able to resist, either!
Air-Fryer Pecan Hand Pies
- 1½ cups semi-finely chopped pecans not too fine but not super chunky either
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- One (2-count package) refrigerated pie crusts at room temperature
- First, make your filling. Add the pecans, sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, beaten eggs and vanilla to a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool COMPLETELY at room temperature until super thick and set. If needed, refrigerate briefly so it has time to firm up.
- Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees if it has a preheat option. If oven-baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using an oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unroll one of the pie crusts onto a clean, flat work surface. Using a 4" or 4.5" biscuit cutter (I actually used the lid to a reusable tumbler) cut out circles of dough. Using a Tablespoon measuring spoon, spoon out a heaping Tablespoon or so of the pecan filling into the center/side of the circle of dough. Dip your finger in water and run it along the edges of the circle. Gently stretch one side of the dough over the filling and pinch the seams together to seal. Use a fork to crimp the seams closed. Poke a few holes in the tops of the pies to help them vent while cooking. Repeat with remaining dough and reroll the pie dough as needed to cut more circles of dough.
- Place a few pies into the basket of the air-fryer and spritz each pie lightly with butter-flavored cooking spray. Fry in the air-fryer for 7-8 minutes or until crisp and set. Please note that these pies will probably leak a little bit; that's okay. Most air fryers are nonstick inside so in between batches, just wipe down or scrape out any leaked filling. Place the pies on a wire rack to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar, if desired.
- To bake, place the pies 2" apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking at the 15-minute mark.
I am in LOVE with these sweet and simple pies and I know you’ll love them, too!
Have a super sweet day!
Check out my other air-fryer pie ideas!!