Apple-Pear Hand Pies with Cheddar Crust
A twist on the American classic, these mini pies marry sweet and savory with the addition of Landaff cheese in their flaky, buttery crust. The Welsh-style cheddar, made in New Hampshire at Landaff Creamery and aged in Vermont at the Cellars at Jasper Hill, is a delectable backdrop to spiced apples and pears. If you can’t get your hands on it, substitute any cheddar-style cheese. These pies are best enjoyed day of, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The filled pies can be frozen for up to 3 months and baked straight from the freezer until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese such as Landaff Creamery Landaff
- ½ cup ice water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ½-inch cubed peeled apple such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Jonagold
- 1 cup ½-inch cubed peeled pear such as D’Anjou or Bosc
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice from about ½ lemon, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon plus more to taste
- Pinch ground nutmeg plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- TO ASSEMBLE:
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk cream, or water
- Coarse sugar or flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- DOUGH: Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large chilled bowl. Add cubed butter and toss to coat. Use your fingers or a fork to cut butter into flour. Once butter pieces are size of walnut halves, add grated cheese and mix with a rubber spatula to combine. If you find butter warming up at any point, refrigerate bowl for a few minutes.
- Mix water with vinegar and drizzle a few tablespoons over flour-butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir water into flour. Continue to add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, until dough is hydrated but not sticky—when you squeeze dough into clumps, it shouldn’t fall apart. Press dough together, divide in half, and form into 2 squares. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- FILLING: Toss all ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Taste and season with more sugar, lemon juice, spices, or salt if needed.
- TO ASSEMBLE: Roll out 1 dough square on a lightly floured surface into a ¼-inch-thick square (a little larger than 12 inches). Trim edges to straighten, then cut dough into 12 rectangles. Transfer 6 rectangles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and spoon 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling in center of each. Lightly brush dough edges with water. Top with remaining 6 rectangles. Press edges gently to seal, then crimp with a fork. Transfer pies to refrigerator and repeat process with second dough square. Chill pies for at least 30 minutes or freeze for 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly beat egg with milk in a small bowl. Cut 2 small slits in top of each pie to vent. Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar or flaky sea salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Photography by Nina Gallant, Styling by Chantal Lambeth