Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheddar Apple Hand Pies

I have a snacking problem.  Mainly, I find it really hard to snack in moderation.  I've given this problem a lot of deep thought, and I've finally figured out why: it's because I have to have a balance of sweet and savory.  If I snack on something sweet, I end up craving something salty, and then something sweet again, and then something salty, and then... well, you get the picture.  It's *not* a pretty sight.

Having identified the problem (yay, me!), I set about to try to solve it.  Was there a way to get both sweet and savory in one bite in wonderful snack form?  This is what I came up with: white cheddar and cinnamon apple hand pies.

The solution seemed so simple, really--actually, staring me in the face at the market, which is currently brimming with crisp apples galore!, with every variety you've heard of and some hierloom varieties you've never heard of (and some varieties even the farmers themselves have never heard of--no joke, they sell these as "unknown" varieties).  "Apples," I thought to myself (a lot of thinking to myself is involved in my life--it may or may not be a good thing), "apples make a healthy snack."  And so it was, me carrying bagfuls of apples home, only to be combined with butter and sugar in pie form.  ("healthy" is a relative term....)

Of course, the salty ingredient to go with tart, juicy, cinnamon-y apples would have to be cheddar.  Preferably the sharpest white cheddar you can find in the store, so that the flavor pops out in the pie crust.  (Also, I used white cheddar for you East Coast folks who are always complaining that our West Coast yellow cheddar just doesn't cut it--happy now?)  And, of course the form factor had to be something that could fit conveniently in one hand and be eaten on the go: it's supposed to be snack food after all!

[click on photo for larger image]

The result was a hand pie that is the perfect marriage of sweet and savory, tart and spiced and salty and sharp.  The dough flakes off like soft, lightly crisped shards of cheesy butter straight into your mouth, revealing an inside of warm, sweet, fruity apple pie filling, all topped off with a tiny bit of coarse sugar crunch sprinkled on the outside.  When baking, these pies fill the house with a wonderfully complex aroma--baking cheese wafting through the rooms to give way to the amazing smell of bubbling apples.  Even though I usually open all of the windows when I bake, this time I closed all of the windows and doors of the house to keep the autumnal scents in just a little bit longer.  Also, these hand pies are great snack foods because you can prep a bunch ahead of time and stick un-baked ones in the freezer in a zip-top bag, popping one or two in the oven as needed whenever you want.

I have to say that hands down, these cheddar apple hand pies are some of my favorite baked goods that I've made, like, ever--I kid you not.  You *must* try these.  They were definitely the sweet-and-savory, one-bite-has-it-all snacks I was looking for to fix my snacking problem....  but.... there's only one issue....

It appears that I made them too delicious to just eat one (or two or three) of.  Oops.

Welcome to November, everyone!

Read on for recipe....

White Cheddar and Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies
makes ~12-14 pies

2 cups (260 gr) AP flour
1/4 tspn salt
4 oz.(113 gr) extra sharp white cheddar cheese
2/3 cup (151 gr) butter, cold
5-6 Tbspn water, cold
500 gr apples
1 Tbspn lemon juice
1/4 cup (25 gr) sugar
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/8 tspn ground cloves
1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
heavy cream
turbinado sugar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Coarsely grate the cheese. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cheese and cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
3. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Do not overmix!
4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel, core, and chop the apples into small chunks. Toss to combine the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8" thick. Cut out 5 inch circles. Fill each circle with apples and fold in half. Press the edges together tightly, crimping with a fork. Cut three small slits on the top of each pie. Chill the pies in the refrigerator or freezer briefly if the dough has softened.
8. Before baking, brush the tops of the pies with heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
9. Bake at 450 degrees F for five minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until the crust is golden.
10. Remove from oven and cool briefly before serving.



  1. Ive just looked through pretty much your entire blog, and its amazing! the flavours that you use together are sensational and flavours that you would never pick to go together but you can tell they'd work! ill definitely be repeating many of your recipes! thanks so much for sharing your amazing talent! :) x

  2. A perfect combination! Apples and cheddar are made to be paired...

    Lovely hand pies and amazing clicks!



  3. Really love the little pies!

  4. i just tried the hand pie thing the other day and am in LOVE!  i love the idea of cheddar and apples in there together too.  yum!

  5. wow. this is an absolute dream. so perfect for the season; and even the transition into next season. great idea for the thanksgiving menu... or day after menu :D
    ps, http://amandamantes.blogspot.com !

  6. My husband also has this exact problem! He'll have something sweet, then a pickle, then some jam, then some pretzels. He's like a pregnant lady! (Except it doesn't affect his figure in the slightest!)

  7. Mmm.  Might make this for Thanksgiving.  Can the filled pies be refrigerated overnight before baking?  Would make life a lot easier to have these done ahead of time.

  8. I'm scared to even try making them...I may not be able to ever stop eating them, EVER!  They look Ahhhhhmaaazing!!!!

  9. delicious !! gorgeous images....the 1st one is my fav

  10. Beautiful! Just made apple hand pies the other week too. Love em!

  11. I absolutely LOVE your photographs in this post...what a beautiful recipe too. Loving the blog and can't wait to see what comes next :) x

  12. I want to make these like, now. How many apples is 500 grams do you think? 

  13. have you thought of writing a book? it would be fantastic if you did :)

  14. hm... it really depends on how big your apples are!  I'd say maybe try anywhere from 3-5 medium apples and a few more if they're small?

  15. LuluFromVoyageGourmandNovember 1, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Yummy, this is exactly what I need to welcome November ! Your pictures are beautiful, like always!

  16. Wow, that was the word I uttered when I saw the photos, and then my mouth started salivating at the combination of apple and sharp cheddar (one of my favourite combinations).  Your hand pies sound absolutely amazing!!!

  17. Cheddar and apple, what a delicious combination! I think you might really like enjoy my recipe for apple crisps... check it out here http://bit.ly/appleecrisp


  18. I love this! I have the exact same sweet/savory snacking cycle problem as you!

  19. After reading your blog, I realized I have the same symptoms...I am thinking all tongues are craving for such mixtures of flavor. Apparently not, some people are just luckier. This is the same reason I snack often too and I leave bags of Doritos, Oreos, Cheetos, Maltesers opened and resealed, and then reopened and resealed...(the cycle continues...) which after awhile I make sure to finsih just to open another set...:)
    Well, I may have just found an answer to these cravings. Thanks for this recipe!!!

  20. Love the darkness. so perfect

  21. My mom has been hammering me to make these since our apple tree started producing apples! Going on my to do list this Sunday :)

  22. I'm on the other side of the world here, but can see - and almost smell - autumn in this post.  Absolutely gorgeous.

  23. I've seen a few hand-pie recipes out there this Fall, but haven't really been tempted to try them... However, your description of the smell and taste and texture of these pies made my mouth water!  And I'm not even usually a sweet/savoury kind of girl (though its growing on me...)!   Thanks for the recipe and the gorgeous pictures.  I LOVE your photography :)

  24. these look delicious!!!!!!!! :) I am excited to try them! I love sweet/savory combinations and we all know that apples and cheese are a great pairing! 

  25. Rocky Mountain WomanNovember 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Lovely lovely lovely....

  26. So I finished my breakfast an hour ago (oatmeal) but I could definitely go for one of these. I love sharp cheddar with Granny Smiths!

  27. Wow - these look just delicious! I can't wait to make them.

  28. I just  love, love, love your photos!

  29. I love your blog. And all your pictures. And just everything. Leaves me speechless. Especially the pictures.

  30. hm... perhaps. :-)

  31. ha! I'm so jealous that it doesn't affect his figure--that is most definitely not the case for me.

  32. Ok I made these on thursday and i have to admit Loved them so much it was so hard for me to hold back from eating the whole batch

  33. I've thought about combining apple and cheddar before but wasn't brave enough to try...but these look so good I think I'll have to now! Thanks for the Sugar Rush!


I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!