Apple Hand Pies with Cheddar Crust— So Delicious!

apple-cheddar hand pie

This is the sort of discovery that inspires me to host a dinner party. After just one bite, I began envisioning the scene: my guests’ hands reaching to the center of the table; the plate piled high with steaming, half-mooned pastries slowly disappearing; the silence as first bites are taken. Just anticipating the reactions — “apple and cheddar?!” — makes me giddy. And giddy were we (my mom, my aunt and I) as we stood around the cutting board in my kitchen, tucking into one after another hand pie, analyzing the flaky cheddar crust, adoring the adorable shape, oohing and ahing over the whole package. These hand pies are a home run.

I’ve been wanting to make an apple pie with a cheddar crust for several years now. Hand pies of course are a little fussy — much more work than making a traditional-shaped pie – but oh so good, and oh so much fun for a party. The pies can be assembled ahead of time and baked just before serving — 20 minutes in the oven and these babies are done.

While apple with cheddar is an age-old pairing, their union in a pie, for me at least, still came as a surprise. A most delicious surprise! I have a feeling you’ll all think so, too.

apple-cheddar hand pie

Mom and Auntie, in town for the weekend, reading to Ella
mom, auntie, ella

Cameo and Fuji apples from Catoctin Mountain Orchard The Cameo apples were some of the best apples I have ever tasted.
Local Fuji and Cameo apples

apple filling

I adore this cheddar.
Cabot Extra Sharp

cheddar cheese pie dough

hand pie assembly

apple-cheddar hand pie

Apple Hand Pie with Cheddar Crust
Dough and Filling recipes from Martha Stewart
Yield = 1 10-inch pie or 10 hand pies + 1 mini pie

Note: If you don’t feel like making hand pies, follow this Martha Stewart recipe for a traditional apple-cheddar pie.

Cheddar Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup ice water

1. Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; pulse until pea-size lumps appear. Pulse in cheese. With processor running, add ice water; process just until dough comes together.

2. Turn dough out; gather into a block. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Filling
Note: This amount of filling is for a traditional sized pie. If you are making hand pies, you will have way too much filling. Halving the amount of filling will yield enough for the hand pies. Or, if you are creative, you could find a way to use up that extra filling…perhaps a crumble or a crisp of some sort?

1 1/2 pounds (about 3) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes*
2 pounds (about 5) Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes*
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional, I didn’t use b/c I didn’t have)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I forgot to dot filling with butter — so I would mark this as optional, too.)

1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons of water
turbinado or demerara sugar or regular granulated sugar for dusting

vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

*These are the apples and amounts recommended in the Martha Stewart recipe. I used a variety of apples — Fuji, Gala, York — it came out beautifully. I think you could basically use any combination of crisp-textured apples.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round cutter (something about the size of a martini glass, which worked quite well in fact) cut five to seven circles out of the rolled dough. (I was able to get five circles initially and had to gather the scraps, re-roll and cut again to get seven out of one half of the dough.) Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.

2. Make the filling: Stir together apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.

3. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Using your finger, brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough. Fold the circle in half so the unfilled side comes over the filling, creating a semicircle. (You might need to let the circles stand at room temperature for a couple of minutes so they become pliable.) Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

4. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle a pinch of the sugar lightly over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

apple-cheddar hand pie

A mini apple-cheddar pie…yummmm.
apple-cheddar hand pie

43 Comments

  1. You read my mind! I’ve been thinking that it was time to make hand pies with apples and I love the idea of a cheddar crust. Thanks, Ali. And what a shot of Miss Ella and your family – I love it.

    Reply
  2. heaven in your hand. I am going to have to make these asap. Apple pie can be so messy, and these just look so neat and tidy, I love it! Definitely putting on the list for possible thanksgiving desserts. Is that Ella smiling? hehe, seems like you might have to embrace the candids with that little one – too cute!

    Reply
  3. I love mixing cheese with fruit, and I recently found out that making my own crust for pies is not that difficult. I’ll give these a try, I love to make little bites of something for a party.

    Reply
  4. Made these today. Delicious, but I ended up with waaaaaay too much apple filling. I weighed my apples, thought it looked like too much for the amount of filling in each hand-pie, but went ahead anyway. Should have trusted my judgement! I think if you are making a regular pie the amount would be fine as you can mound it high, but it doesn’t work that way for fold over hand-pies. Might have to make a crumble now with the leftovers (not such a bad problem to have).

    Reply
    • Lucy, you are so right! I’ve been meaning to make a note. I had way too much filling as well and ended up making another half portion of dough just to use it up. I’m going to edit the recipe right now — the filling amount probably could be halved. So sorry I didn’t note this earlier!

      Reply
  5. No worries! They were certainly worth the small problem of a bit of extra filling. I might try them with a rye crust next time and see what that’s like. Thanks for the recipe–this is a great blog/site. :)

    Reply
  6. I made these and left them in the fridge for two days. The results were still excellent. Day 1 we baked 6 for breakfast, then Day 2 we baked 6 more!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Gale! I live about 20 minutes from Fredericksburg, VA — I hear you (or others from Cabot) are going to be in town this weekend. If timing works out with the kiddos, I want to come check out the festival. Also, I made these cheese sticks tonight for a little dinner party using Cabot Extra Sharp. So delicious!

      Reply
  7. Just popped these in the oven and can’t wait to try them! Just a tip for anyone else making this recipe, you might consider even quartering the pie-filling recipe. I halved it as suggested and still had WAY more than I needed for just my handpies, I made a dutch apple pie with the rest. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
  8. I’ve never had an apple pie with a cheese crust. It sounds delicious! I was planning on making them for thanksgiving, but I’m a broke college student and don’t have access to a food processor. Is there any way I could still make them?

    Reply
    • Brittany — absolutely! I made my dough by hand for years. I’m just lazy now. The key with pie dough is to make sure everything is cold. One trick that might help with the butter is to grate it on a box grater — if you have one — and then stick the grated butter in the freezer for a bit so it gets nice and cold. If you don’t have a box grater, just cut up the butter into small pieces and stick it in the freezer while you prepare the remaining ingredients. If I plan ahead, I stick my flour in the freezer ahead of time too. To make by hand, place flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Toss in cold cut-up butter. Toss in grated cheese (best if you grate the cheese ahead, too, and then stick it in the fridge to chill). I use my hands, which is considered a no-no by some purists because the heat of the hand can soften the butter, to toss the flour with the butter and cheese and to break up the butter into small pea-sized pieces. Drizzle in ice water and with a wooden spoon stir to combine. Use your hands as needed to form the dough into a mass. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. Hope that helps. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply

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