Cheesemonster
Alice Bergen Phillips

Cheesy Recipes

Apple Cheddar Handpies

I like to think of myself as someone who plans ahead. Someone who can schedule like a pro, someone who comes up with strategies in order to solve problems. More type A than type B. A person who is does their homework and shows up prepared. A planner. 

AND YET, my friends, every time Cheese Club rolls around - which is, you know, every month - I find myself in the same exact preventable predicament: I find myself, mere hours before my wonderful, fabulous, paying guests start arriving, rolling the proverbial dice and trying out a recipe that I have never, ever made before, with no time left over for any mistakes or missteps. EVERY. TIME. Should I have recipe tested? Yes. Do I swear that next month will be different, that next month I will recipe test and figure out how to make everything perfectly before the day of the event? You betcha. Do I ever actually take my own advice? Fucking never (insert eyeroll here). 

Maybe I'm subconsciously a bit more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants than I'd like to admit. Maybe I just have a death wish and want to give myself a big ol' heart attack with a side of ulcer. Regardless, there is a silver lining to all of this madness: this game of culinary Russian Roulette has resulted in me finding some really fabulous, and fairly foolproof, cheesy recipes.

This recipe for Apple Cheddar Handpies is my most recent Cheese Club-related discovery. This means that I used Shelburne Farms 2 Year Cheddar in the recipe (it worked like a dream and I definitely recommend it, but you can use other aged cheddars, or probably aged gouda, too). Making pastries that you've never made before is arguably the stupidest thing you can do by way of kitchen experimentation, but these guys came out absolutely perfectly and I, for one, could not stop eating them. That being said, don't be like me - try them out before throwing a huge party whose success hinges on these little guys. Plus, that means more handpies for you, so everybody wins. Happy baking, everyone!


Ingredients

Cheddar Crust

- 2.5 cups all purpose flour

- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small 1/4" cups

- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

- 2 teaspoons salt

 - 1/4 cup plus 2-4 tablespoons ice cold water

- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (Shelburne Farms 2 year cheddar works very well)

Apple Filling

- 4 large, tart, crisp apples (Granny Smith or Honeycrisp work wonderfully)

- 1/2 cup brown sugar

- 1/2 cup granulated sugar

- 1 tablespoon cinnamon

- The juice of 1 lemon

- 1 egg, beaten


Method

- Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the cold butter cubes and rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers (stop when the mixture has the texture of course sand). 

- Add the grated cheese and roughly blend in the cheddar with a cold fork or pastry blender until just incorporated.

- Slowly add the water, 3-4 tablespoons at a time, incorporating with a cold fork. Check the dough between each addition of water by pinching it - if it holds together, it’s ready. If it is dry or crumbly, slowly add the remaining water, testing the dough by pinching it occasionally. BE CAREFUL NOT TO ADD TOO MUCH WATER!! You're dough will become tough and dense.

- Form the dough into two disks and wrap them in plastic. Chill for at least 1-2 hours (I chilled mine overnight, which worked very well).

-Peel and core the apples and chop them into 1/2" cubes. Toss with both sugars, cinnamon and lemon juice, then set aside the mixture for about an hour until they begin to release their juices (I put mine in the fridge overnight).

- Once your pie dough has chilled, make sure to preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

- Roll one pie dough disk to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly-floured counter. Using a 4" round biscuit cutter (or small bowl/wide glass), cut rounds out of the rolled dough. I got 10 rounds per disk after re-rolling the scraps together.

- Transfer the disks to parchment line baking sheets.

- Paint a ring of the beaten egg around the outer edge of each disk (on the dough, not on the parchment paper - sorry I realized that that sentence might be confusing).

- Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of apple mixture onto one half of each disk. Then fold the pastry in half over the top of the mixture, making a half-moon shape. Seal the edges of the pastry together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with each disk.

- Paint each pastry with the beaten egg. Then, using a paring knife, cut 3 vents in the top of each pastry.

- Bake in the center of the oven until the handpies are golden brown (it took mine about 25-30 minutes, but it will depend on your oven).

- Let the pastries cool on cooling racks for 10-15 minutes (at least) before serving. You can also make these a few days ahead of your event - if you're doing that, be sure to let the pastries cool completely before putting in an airtight container. Reheat them before serving.

 

*Apple Cheddar Handpie photo credit goes to the ever talented and amazing Charles Davis
Alice Bergen Phillips