These beyond-simple bourbon pecan hand pies are the perfect last-minute dessert or lazy-baker alternative to homemade pie. Store-bought puff pastry gives you a golden, puffed and unbelievably flaky crust and creates nice little pockets for the no-cook, 5-ingredient filling. This handheld dessert is a compact 2 to 3 bites, so it’s ideal for a dessert spread or even your holiday cookie plate. If you’re expecting a larger crowd, it’s also incredibly easy to double or triple
Pro tip: If you’re not able to thaw your puff pastry in the fridge overnight, then cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. It should be pliable, but not too soft where the butter is beginning to melt and the dough looks floppy. If this happens, then pop it back in your fridge or freezer for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet or pie dish. Bake in the oven until toasty and lightly browned, about 10 minutes; tossing halfway through baking. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and let cool slightly; finely chop. Increase the oven temperature to 400°.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, un-fold the puff pastry sheets. Roll each sheet into a 12-inch square. Using a 3-inch round cutter, stamp out 12 circles from each sheet (you will have 24 in total). Transfer to a large plate, separating each later with parchment paper. Refrigerate the puff pastry while you prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, mix the pecans with the brown sugar, butter, bourbon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 2 teaspoons of water.
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the puff pastry circles from the fridge. Lightly brush 12 of the circles with the egg wash, then spoon about 1 tablespoon of the pecan filling in the middle of each egg washed circle. Place the remaining 12 pastry circles over the filling and use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush the hand pies with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Using a sharp paring knife, cut 3 small slits in each top. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. If possible, pop the hand pies back in the fridge for another 15 to 20 minutes before baking.
Bake the hand pies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown; rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve hand pies warm or at room temperature.
MAKE AHEAD The hand pies can be stored overnight at room temperature in an airtight container.