All-butter hand pies filled with dulce de leche and fresh cranberry sauce . The perfect dessert for Thanksgiving! Because you get a whole pie. To yourself. Stuff of dreams here guys.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

The other day Eric decided to take Charlotte on a Daddy-daughter date to Target. Because we’re a super classy family. (And because the entire store is like one giant hook for 3 year olds. “Christmas trees! Sparkles! ELSA!!!!”)

While he was in line checking out, Charlotte wandered over to a display advertising the new How to Train your Dragon movie, and he watched her reach a finger up to the cardboard…scratch…and sniff.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again. I would really love to go back to the time where I’m checking scratch n sniff capabilities on random objects. You never know, you might get lucky! That’s pretty hardcore optimism right there.

I wish you could scratch n sniff these hand pies. Or better yet, scratch n lick. When are they going to invent that already? Come on tech nerds, I’m looking at you. Get on it. Food blogging would be a whoooole different world. And so would computer screen hygiene.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Hand pies! I made these 3 times. (A new trend??) The first time the filling was too dry. The second time I tried it with refrigerated pie dough and canned whole cranberry sauce. It totally worked and was pretty good. But you just can’t beat this homemade crust. It is so flaky and buttery and perfect, like a puff pastry/pie crust mash up. I prefer the taste of fresh cranberries, but if you want the quick version of these pies, use the canned cranberry sauce! (Instructions in recipe notes.)

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

I know that dulce de leche and cranberry might seem like an odd combination, but for real you guys, it’s delicious. I’m not going to tell you how many hand pies I have consumed in the last few weeks. (Whatever number you’re imagining, add 5.)

The main problem with these hand pies is that they take foreverrrr to cool off. They are like adorable transportable POCKETS OF LAVA. I tried eating one after waiting several minutes (at least 5) and I thought my mouth was going to combust. Then some dulce de leche dripped onto my finger and burned that too, and my brilliant solution was to lick it off.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Maybe I should slap a warning on these babies: THESE PIES MAKE YOU STUPID.

Worth it.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

UPDATE: I learned recently How to Make Dulce de Leche at home from a can of sweetened condensed milk! It’s so easy and soooo good. And cheaper. Check it out here!

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan^^oops. Crimp your pies BEFORE you do the egg wash. Much easier that way.

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Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies

Serves Makes 12-14 (3-inch) hand pies     adjust servings


For the cranberry filling

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

For the dough

  • 2 cup flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (13 oz) can Dulce de Leche* (Here's How to Make Dulce de Leche at home)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Any kind of coarse sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Add the cranberries, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water to a medium saucepan. Set to medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Simmer for another 2-4 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have split.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. When there are no lumps, add to the cranberries and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another minute or two, until the sauce thickens. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and let come to room temperature (stick it in the fridge if you want).
  3. Make the dough. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour with salt and baking powder. Use your hands or a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) to cut the butter into the flour. You want it to be crumbled but still have pea-size pieces of butter.
  4. Add the sour cream and stir. It won't come together. Use your hands to knead the dough together a few times until it forms a ball. (I do this right in the bowl.)
  5. Flatten out the dough and place onto a well-floured work surface. Sprinkle the top with flour. Roll the dough into an 8x10 inch rectangle.
  6. Grab both of the short ends and fold it over like a business letter (see photos).
  7. Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Roll the dough into another 8x10 inch rectangle. Fold it again like a business letter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes at least.
  8. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  9. Roll out the dough into a 14x14 inch square. (let sit out of the fridge for a few minutes if it's too hard to roll out.)
  10. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter or similar sized glass to cut as many circles as you can out of the dough. Re-roll and cut as necessary until the dough is gone.
  11. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Line up 6 or 8 circles on each sheet (however many you can fit).
  12. Use 2 spoons to add about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons Dulce de Leche (Here's How to Make Dulce de Leche at home) to the center of each circle.
  13. Use 2 spoons to add 1-2 tablespoons of the cranberry filling on top of the Dulce de Leche. Keep the edges of the circle clean.
  14. Top each pie with another circle of dough. Pinch together with your fingers (pick it up if that makes it easier.) Crimp the edges with a fork.
  15. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash.
  16. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of each pie. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar or raw sugar.
  17. Bake at 425 for about 13 minutes, or until they are brown on top.
  18. Let cool for 10-20 minutes before stuffing your face.


If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!

Source: Crust recipe from Just a Taste, who got it from King Arthur Flour


Other Thanksgiving dessert ideas!

Brown-Butter Cranberry Tart <<– Looove this:

Brown Butter Cranberry Tart from

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake:

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | TheFoodCharlatan.comMaple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears:

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce:

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Cinnamon Cardamom Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting:

Cinnamon Cardamom Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Other Thanksgiving dessert ideas from around blog-land:

Mile-High Apple Pie from Sugar Hero
Salted Caramel Bittersweet Chocolate Tart from Life Made Simple
Snicker Caramel Apple Pie from I Heart Naptime