here's a funny thing about storage in a tiny apartment: you work so hard at it, you shift and rearrange and make sure to fit things in just so, and at the end of the day you manage to squeeze in at least several perplexing and by most accounts, not terribly useful items (see another example here). this apple peeler/corer/ring-maker is one such object. i can't really defend its taking up space in our tiny abode, but i do rather like it and it made making these little hand pies so much more fun.
but, this isn't really a post about storage or kitchen utensils, it's a post about pies. hand pies. sweet-and-savory-and-perfect-for-september-picnics-hand-pies. they're buttery and delicious and if you're like me, you might eat three of them in one go and still have a hankering for more. sharp cheddar added to the crust and folded into the middle makes these little guys unexpected and comforting all at the same time. it's a good day for a little comfort food and anyway, an apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze, or so they say.
i'm not making any real claims about the perfection of this recipe in the technical sense--i winged it almost entirely--but it worked terrifically for me, and if you're pleased by things that are savory and sweet all at the same time, i'm confident this'll do the trick.
flaky pastry crust (adapted from mark bittman):
1 stick cold butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus a few tablespoons for rolling the dough (i swapped in 1/2 c. whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or so)
1 teaspoon sugar (or so)
3 or more cold tablespoons of water
1/2 cup or so grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
a small handful or so of fresh sage, chopped
mix together dry ingredients then use a pastry blender, fork, or hulking food processor to mix butter and cheese into flour until the mixture looks like small crumbs (mine always look like large crumbs, but that's neither here nor there). form dough with hands by adding cold water to your crumbs, one tablespoon at a time. when formed into a ball, wrap in parchment paper and freeze for ten minutes while you prepare the filling. when you're ready, dump plenty of flour onto your surface and rolling pin and flatten away. i used a small fruit bowl as a guide for cutting my circles.
for the filling:
4 smallish apples (ours were a gift from an orchard-going friend--not sure the variety)
a few tablespoons flour
a few tablesoons sugar
1/2 a lemon
one small bunch sage, chopped
five slices yellow onion, quartered
one slice extra sharp cheddar cheese per pie
i used the fancy apple corer to slice the apples thinly. there's no need for the fancy corer, but slicing the apples thinly works better than using the big slices you might put into a regular old pie. after slicing, douse apples with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. mix a few tablespoons sugar and flour into slices. add chopped fresh sage and a few slices of onion, quartered. spoon mixture onto your dough rounds and top with a slice of cheddar cheese. fold dough round in half over the filling and pinch shut (using a fork to tamp down the edges works well). place hand pies on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.
enjoy by your lonesome or with company. in either scenario you'll finish with a smile on your face.
ps: should you be interested in purchasing your very own debatably necessary apple peeler/corer/ring-maker: go here for an old-fashioned one like mine, or here for something more modern.