Pork and apple hand pies
These little pies take a little effort, but they are so worth it. Flaky, cheddar cheese crust filled with spiced ground pork and tender apples... what is not to love?
For the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 oz sharp cheddar, cubed
6-10 Tbsp ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
For the filling:
about 3 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch thick wedges
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
1 lb ground pork
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
pinch black pepper
2 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
To make the crust, add the flour, sage, salt, cold cubed butter and cheese to the bowl and mix by hand until the butter is cut into pieces the size of large peas (you can do this with a food processor if you like.) Add the sage. Drizzle in 6 Tbsp of water and mix, adding more water 1 Tbsp at a time if needed just until the dough holds together when you pinch it. Don't over mix it- you want to see small chunks of butter in the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple times until it holds together. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, heat a large pan over medium low heat and saute the apples in a Tbsp of butter, just until the soften ever so slightly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the oil to the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and add the onion. Cook for a minute or two and then add the pork, sugar, salt, pepper and spices. cook the pork mixture until no longer pink, using a spoon to break up the meat. Drain, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs to the pork and mix. Set this aside while you prepare the crust.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured counter and lightly dust the top with flour. Roll the dough out to slightly less than 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 6 pie shells with a 5 inch circular cutter if you have it, or find some other instrument (I used a glass) you could also use a knife. Gather up the scraps and re-roll if necessary and cut out 6 more circles, slightly larger than the first - about 5 1/2 inches (you could just make all the circles 5 inches and roll these ones out a little bit more.) And repeat until all your dough is used up. Make sure you have equal amounts of smaller circles and larger ones.
Arrange the smaller circles a couple inches apart onto a non stick baking sheet. Arrange two layers of sliced apples on each circle, leaving about a 1/4 inch border all around the edges. Place a good handful of the pork in a mound on top of the apples. Drape the larger circles over the pork and tightly pinch the edges together and seal by pressing a fork all around the edges. With your fork, poke a couple small holes in the tops of the pies. Lightly brush each pie with the egg wash mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
I made extra of the pork mixture and put it on pizza... it was that good!