Satisfy your apple pie craving without eating an entire pie.
My parents have an ongoing argument about how apple pie is best eaten. My mom thinks it is best with a slice of cheddar cheese on top and my dad thinks vanilla ice is the best topping. I used to be on my dad’s side, but I think I’m a convert to the cheddar side, especially after how good these hand pies came out. I think the filling is a fairly standard, though perhaps on the bold side Adjust quantities to your liking. I really focused on the crust, adding some of the spices directly to the crust as well as a splash of apple cider vinegar for flavoring. My choice to include maple syrup over honey or another sugar is probably very nontraditional, but hey, I’m from New England.
Spiced-Crust Apple-Cheddar Hand Pies
Spiced Cheddar Crust
182g Bread flour
121g Whole wheat flour (pastry flour preferred)
1.5g (3/4 tsp) Cardamom
1.5g (3/4 tsp) Cinnamon
15g Granulated Sugar
228g Butter, cold, cut into slices
46g Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
106g Sourdough Culture*
15g Maple Syrup
20-25g Vodka, ice cold (or water, but vodka makes it flakier)
A splash of apple cider vinegar
*If you don’t maintain a sourdough culture, you’ll need more liquid to bring this together. Warning: I have not tested this, so proceed with caution.
Apple Pie Filling
2 medium apples (both tart or a mix of tart and sweet)
60g Maple syrup (or honey)
Spices (I used 1/2 tsp each of Anise Seed, Ginger, Nutmeg, 1/4 tsp each of Allspice, Cardamom, Cinnamon, and 1 star Anise)
A few freshly ground black peppercorns
A medium-thin slice of cheese for each hand pie
One egg yolk
Dash of cream
Coarse sugar for garnish (optional)
Assemble the pie dough. Mix the flour, spices, sugar, and salt together. With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter and cheese until you are left with small flour-coated pieces. Add the sourdough, syrup, vodka, and vinegar. Stir until a dough starts to form. On a lightly floured surface, work the dough together by hand, working gently and being careful not to melt the butter. Divide in two, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, possibly overnight.
A bit later, core, peel, and cut the apples into small pieces and combine with the rest of the filling ingredients except the cheese in a small pot. Cook until tender.
While the filling cools, preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out one piece and use a biscuit cutter to cut 9 pieces, rerolling as necessary. A circular cutter is probably best for getting maximal filling in these pies, but I can’t resist using my heart cutter. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Place the nine bottoms on a lined baking sheet (or just some parchment, I baked these on a baking stone). Place a piece of cheese on each bottom a drop filling in the middle. Before placing a top on and sealing with a fork, I dab the edges with egg wash to help with the seal. One the tops are one and the pies are sealed, brush with the egg wash. Garnish with sugar if you want. Bake for 25-30 minutes. These are tasty both warm and at room temperature. These keep well for at least a day. I don’t know their maximum life because they’ve all been eaten so quickly!