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Spiced Apple Pie Cornish Game Hens with Sweet Cream & Apple Spice White Wine Gravy

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apple pie cornish hens 2

I had to laugh, but was quite pleased!!, when my hubby walked into the kitchen saying, “Omg!! I don’t know what you’re making, but it’s driving me crazy! It smells like Apple Pie!”!! And yes, yes they do smell like an old-fashioned apple pie while they roast! My apologies for the awful pictures that DO NOT do the these hens justice at all, nor even look NEAR as gorgeous as what they did in person when they were done! I was running out of light and was taking the pics almost in the dark! The sun was setting so fast, that this was all I could get for you. But in person, trust me, they look PHENOMINAL!!! 😀 Just plain good stuff, Maynard! 😉

What a fabulous Sunday dinner it was! I could still smell the aromas of that amazing chicken and rich, creamy gravy lingering, torturing me, (knowing it was all gone!), that next morning and throughout the day!! Sadly, I only made 2 hens, one apiece for us. Lesson learned! Next time, I may either make 4 for a leftover supper for us the next night, or maybe just roast a nice big chicken instead! Then, that way, we could even stuff the whole roasted chicken with the seasoned apples and skip a step. 😉 

I made a side dish of white rice flavored with extra apple juice concentrate from a larger can than called for because that was all they had, and celery that went really well with this, but a wild or brown rice, risotto, buttered noodles or orzo, or even mashed potatoes would also equally work really well, too, as the gravy is TDF!!! My hubby thought it a “tad sweet”, but I thought that the sweetness was the ultimate compliment to the apple pie-flavored chicken! It was velvety smooth, rich and plate lickin’ good! (Literally…jus’ sayin’. Just doing my part to help the dishwasher, ya know. I’m helpful like that. 😉 )

I also served these with a Granny Smith apple that I thinly sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, then sautéed for just a few minutes on each side until softened. A bite of chicken with a piece of apple, a little rice, and dipped in gravy was heavenly!!! Omg….!!!



I know it looks dark. But, trust me, it wasn’t burnt. And that bit of “dark part” of skin was worth fightin’ over! Mine was the smaller one in the back that happened to be in a little bit cooler spot of the oven and had minimal caramelization, and believe me, I DID snitch a small piece of that sweet, crisped up skin off of his while the hubs wasn’t looking!! Sssshhhhh!!! 😉 Mine was more what I call “anemic”. It had some deep browning, but not nearly enough nor as pretty as his! So please be sure to get some of the rich caramelization before tenting! It’s truly the best part! And also note, these are not as dark as they appear in my photo, either. I’m not a pro photographer, not by a LONG shot, and I need to work harder on my photography for you. I promise to try and get better shots so you can see what things actually look like better. 😉 But this’ll have to do for now!

So if you’re in need of a special dinner, Sunday dinner, or just dinner for the family, this is a good one! Pretty easy to make really, and very economical, too! Basically, 2 cornish hens, an apple and some rice when you think about it! Plus just a few extras, but mostly just pantry stuff, and a few things from the fridge that you probably already have on hand. Though it looks fancy, it’s really not in way of actual groceries! Best kind of Sunday dinner to me! 😉 I’m crossing my fingers that you’ll make this one! It was swoon-worthy and company would flip! Enjoy all and have a most wonderful day! 🙂



Serves 2 but easily doubles (Figure on one hen per adult, a half for kiddos)


For marinade:

1 (6 oz.) can apple juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted

2 Tbl. white wine

2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Cornish Game Hens, thawed, bag of “innards” removed, rinsed and patted dry and butterflied (remove backbone)


Rest of ingredients:

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

1 Tbl. butter

1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced (16 pieces)

cinnamon-sugar mix to lightly coat apples on both sides

3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 Tbl. flour

1 Tbl. spicy brown mustard, I just used French’s



In a large glass measuring pitcher, stir and whisk marinade ingredients until well combined. Place butterflied hens into a ziploc freezer bag skin sides facing out, and pour marinade into bag. Seal tight, removing the air, and turn over back and forth making sure some of the marinade gets in-between them. Place into fridge and marinate for 2 hours turning every 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove hens from baggie and place onto a sprayed rack in a roaster that has been lined with foil, skin-side up. Season them evenly on top with the 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Tuck wing tips under legs, cross the legs and tie together with butcher’s string. Baste with a few spoons of marinade and pop into oven. *Reserve marinade. (Pour back into glass measuring pitcher.)

Bake for 1 hour basting after 20 minutes, then again when there’s 10-15 minutes left. *Baste sparingly because marinade will burn on the foil a bit due to the sugar in the apple juice concentrate. *Also, when there’s 30-20 minutes left, tent with foil to prevent burning. *You want dark spots, but just don’t let it burn. Tenting will prevent this perfectly. Remove hens from oven and roast rack to a platter and lightly cover with foil to keep warm and let rest.

While hens are resting, over medium-high heat, melt butter in large frying pan. Add apple slices (*I just use my apple corer/slicer then slice the slices in half), place into pan on their sides, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon-sugar mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn each, sprinkle again and cook again for 2-3 minutes. Remove to plate and cover to keep warm. 

Wipe out frying pan with a wad of wet paper towel and pour in reserved marinade. In the same measuring pitcher, add cream or half-and-half, flour and mustard and whisk until combined. Heat marinade until simmering, then whisk in cream mixture. Simmer and whisk for 2 minutes until thickened.

Serve hens with apples and sweet cream gravy. Pairs well with white, brown or wild rice, risotto, lightly buttered noodles or orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), or even mashed potatoes and the extra gravy. *Be sure to remove the butcher’s string from the hens before serving.  

Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley if desired. Looks especially nice for company!  

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