I finally found a very good, I mean really good, cheddar hand pie crust. For years I've always made my own UNTIL the talented folks at King Arthur Flour bestowed upon me their own recipe. Wow. It's really that good. Originally King Arthur used it for breakfast hand pies, which is a fabulous idea, but I used mine for a cheddar hand pie filled with jam. I love the idea of cheddar and fruit. Always had a slice of sharp cheddar cheese along with my apple pie--even made apple pie with cheese in--oh so fabulous. To be honest I was going to use apples inside this one, but didn't have enough apples, so I just used whatever was in the fridge.
When I eat croissants I LOVE to put raspberry jam on them--it's such a great combo.
But really you could fill these hand pies with anything--apples, scrambled eggs, stir fry veggies, brie, figs, chutney....endless possibilities. Keep in mind that this dough is really only for hand pies, I do not think this would work well as a pie crust since it puffs, a lot. I think the next batch well have some sort of chutney in them--doesn't that sound good? What do you think about chocolate? I'm in.
This is where I take shortcuts when it comes to cutting out squares. It works though!
raspberry-cheddar hand pies
crust from King Arthur Flour
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Hi-maize Fiber (or substitute all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup Vermont cheese powder (or substitute ¼ cup fine-grind Parmesan cheese)
3/4 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce, optional
1 1/2 cups (24 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into pats (I grated mine, kept them frozen)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup ice water
Raspberry jam (or whatever filling you want)
Cook notes: I made this without the hi-maize fiber using flour instead, and used parmesan instead of cheese powder. BUT I highly recommend using/finding the sharp cheese powder because I’m so sure that adds a nice flavor and the parmesan makes it a little more greasy. I separated this dough into 5 mounds and only used one mound for the fruit pies, and freezing the rest. Does it freeze well? Yes. For the square-like hand pies, I rolled my hand pies into long squares, but use any shape you want—keep in mind that the dough should be as thin as possible since it does rise a bit when baking. Always keep the dough cold when working with it and always work the dough as little as possible as we want a nice crispy crust. The more you work the crust the chewier and less tender it will be.
In terms of cutting out dough squares for perfect sized hand pies? -- I’m horrid at this, so I just cut them into long strips and filled one half and folded over the other half (as seen in the photos). It’s rustic, but it works for me. If you have a better way, then please go ahead.
To make the crust: Combine the dry ingredients. Work in the butter until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
Add the cheddar cheese and water, mixing until the dough is cohesive; add extra water, if necessary, to make it come together. It will be crumbly, that’s ok, just mold them into mounds and cover with plastic—it will come together when it sits/sets up in the fridge. If you are using dough right away chill at least 30 minutes or more. If you are not using all of them right away then freeze the rest.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove a disk of dough from the fridge. Roll it into as big a square/rectangle, as you can. Using a sharp knife, slice out little squares (whatever size you want).
Fill the middles with about 2 teaspoons of raspberry jam. Take a square and place on top, seal up edges with a fork by pressing down or pinching if necessary.
I brushed the whole tops with the beaten egg before baking. Making a vent hole is NOT necessary.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while making the other hand pies. You always want to keep the dough as cold as possible.
Bake the pies for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, and cool before eating as the filling is HOT.