You know I'm a fan of simple recipes, but no more so than when I'm expecting guests and as our annual holiday party approached I was racking my brain for ideas that would be easy, something I could make ahead of time, and would offer some variety to the menu.
As I was scanning through old posts I remembered this Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry from a few weeks ago and if it's good enough for Ina it's good enough for me, but I wanted to try something new... It's a New England tradition to pair a slice of sharp Cheddar cheese with apple pie - something my grandfather used to love - so when I decided make my own version I knew the bite of the Cheddar would pair beautifully with the tart sweetness of Granny Smith apples.
My original version used Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon, which is delicious, but the finishing touch came when I visited the Maille boutique (more on that later…) and tasted their Mustard with White Wine, Apricots & Curry Spices. I was excited to branch out and try something new and since curry, apples and cheddar are a classic combination I was confident that this would be a great alternate.
I decided to make these in individual servings, but if you don't have the patience or extra time to make the hand pies I can attest that it still works beautifully in the original form.
Granny Smith and Cheddar Hand Pies with Spicy Mustard (yield: 8 hand pies)
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), defrosted
1 medium granny smith apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup spicy mustard (I used Maille Mustard with White Wine, Apricots & Curry Spices)
4-6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Quarter, core, and thinly slice the apple into approximately 20 pieces. Next, slice the block of sharp white cheddar cheese into 1/8 inch pieces. Set both the apples and cheddar aside while you prepare the puff pastry.
Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and unfold the defrosted puff pastry onto it. Roll out the puff pastry from the center about 1 inch in each direction. Using a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into 4 evenly sized squares.
Spread 1 teaspoon of mustard onto the lower triangle of each square of puff pastry leaving a 1/3 inch border. Layer 3-4 pieces of cheddar, followed by 2-3 slices of apple on top of the mustard. Brush the border of the pastry with egg wash.
Fold the top corner of the puff pastry diagonally across to the lower corner so that it covers the apples and cheese. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a 1/2 teaspoon of water to make the egg wash. Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the filling into the triangle. Brush the tops with egg wash and cut 2-3 steam vents in the top of each pie.
Once all the hand pies have been assembled shift the parchment paper to a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tops have turned golden brown.
Cool for 3-5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with extra mustard.
If you want to make this ahead of time, assemble the hand pies and refrigerate on a baking sheet wrapped in plastic. Wait to brush the tops with egg wash until just before baking and cut the steam vents. Bake as directed above.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used one baking sheet, a small cutting board, a chef’s knife, small bowl, pastry brush, rolling pin, measuring spoon, and fork. Parchment paper will make life much easier - I highly recommend it for this recipe.
I made this for my family while I was home for the holidays and it made a perfect addition to our late afternoon cocktail hour snack options. My sister has declared it her new favorite thing to bring to parties or make when she has guests and I have a feeling you’ll agree.