apple and onion hand pies with cheddar and sage.

September 11, 2012

appleapplecored openpie piewrapped bite packaged2 skins 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.

recipe ////////////////

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.

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34 Comments

  • Reply Selene September 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Amazing post as always!

  • Reply tinajo September 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Now I´m SERIOUSLY hungry..!

  • Reply Jacquelyn | lark & linen September 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    wow – this sounds like a pretty insane combination!

  • Reply Milynn {Love + Whimsy} September 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Beautifully done! I've tried making hand pies before for a Fourth of July picnic… it failed horribly! I don't know what happened, but this post has inspired me to give it a go once again. Thank you

  • Reply Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn September 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I'll take one to-go please.

  • Reply Elise Martinez September 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing and doesn't seem to difficult. Definitely going to try! Great post 🙂

  • Reply sweet harvest moon September 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    These look wonderful! I want that apple peeler, looks like fun!
    Made applesauce cake this morning 🙂

  • Reply Harri Davison September 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Amazing! Beautiful images, I want your apple peeler and now I'm hungry 🙂 x

  • Reply Kristen September 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Never had this combination before. Will have to try it. You can mail that apple peeler to me if it's taking up too much room! I've wanted one for a while now! Ha!

  • Reply Stephanie Roberts September 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    i'm trying to eat paleo right now…but this recipe is going to have to happen for me. it speaks to my soul. you have to cheat now and then, right? http://www.everywhimandnotion.com

  • Reply Junaluska September 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    These are making my mouth water! The apple peeler looks really fun to use too.

  • Reply RosieB September 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    This looks so incredible! I'm addicted to cheese and onion pasties (larger English/Cornish versions of hand pies) and reckon these would be right up my street! Yum!

    http://www.ciderwithrosiebee.blogspot.com

  • Reply chestnutmocha September 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    wonderful! on my to-bake list now!

  • Reply Amielle September 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Looks like something the kids I watch would love! I'll have to make sure to buy extra apples this weekend to make this as an afternoon snack next week.

  • Reply Lisa September 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I've never made hand pies, but these look like just the place to begin. I love apples and cheddar together. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator September 12, 2012 at 3:51 am

    wow, these look gorgeous. I have plenty of kitchen accessories that are "debatebly necessary". Can't get rid of them if there is a shred of hope I'll use one in the next 10 years!

  • Reply Stephanie September 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    At first I didn't read the title of this post so I was expecting these to be dessert hand pies. I was surprised when I started reading about the savory ingredients, but when I did, I got even more inspired to make this. Now I am super excited to go apple picking this fall…

  • Reply Rachel September 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    We have that little gadget and even though we only use it once or twice a year, I couldn't ever get rid of it. Apple pies are so much better with perfectly sliced apples!

  • Reply Mary September 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Gawd yummy!! I think i'm drooling a little. Must get napkin. LOL

  • Reply Shoko September 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    i can't even tell you how impressed i am by this. so, so impressed. and hungry.

  • Reply Rebecca - A Daily Something September 13, 2012 at 4:00 am

    these hand pies look so incredibly scrumptious. and now I want a midnight snack.

  • Reply Kristina @ Sarcire September 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! My mouth is watering. Seriously. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley September 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    these look amazing and I plan to try ASAP! My peeler/corer is one of my "must have" gadgets in my house.. .though I cook with apples in the fall on a regular basis. Great post and thanks for the recipe! You really inspire me to simplify in my own home.

  • Reply Anonymous September 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Anyone make these? I would love to make them this week, but how many does this recipe make?

    • Reply Erin September 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Yes, of course, I've made them! The quantity depends on the size of the circle you make. I used a small bowl to make mine, and yielded about ten hand pies!

  • Reply LA September 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I haven't been reading your blog for too long, BUT I've made these twice, recently. So far the reviews they've received have been some version of: "These are the best things I've ever tasted."

    I tend to need a bit more flour than you listed here, and this recipe made 7 pies for me.

  • Reply EMarx September 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Do you slice vents/slits in the top of the pie to prevent a "blow out" in the crust? Just wondering, because the pictures look like it, but nobody has mentioned it. I'm trying these for a potluck this weekend with some local organic apples and onions, looks delicious!

    • Reply Erin September 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Yup! I made a few slits on the top of each hand pie to let off steam!

  • Reply Kate October 25, 2012 at 2:17 am

    I made these tonight or dinner. WOW. Awesome recipe. Thanks Erin!

    • Reply Erin October 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      so glad to hear it!

  • Reply seule771 October 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Lovely blog; life in a small apartment…can be cozy. You have privacy as opposed to communal or the Y.

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator December 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Just came back to this recipe again as I'm already dreaming of apple season long gone…

  • Reply Becky October 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I made these! They are AMAZING! Flavors were sooo good together and I appreciated the "or so" in the recipe. That's how I like to cook too.

  • Reply Mary Kate March 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I pinned this awhile ago and just got around to making it, except instead of making mini-pies, I got it into my head I wanted to make a galette. Word to the wise: roll the dough way thinner than I did if you’re going to go this route! I ended up with a very thick-crusted galette, so thick-crusted the sides fell away, so it was more like a flatbread type-thing with the filling sitting on top. And I ended up having too much filling. Regardless, it was delicious, but between the two of us we ate the whole thing in one sitting, which is a lot of butter 🙂

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