On Nostalgia, Apple Picking and Delicious Hand-pies

What is nostalgia for you? Is it warm or is it blue? Does it make you smile when you relive old forgotten memories inside your head, or leaves you longing for returning back to the days when..? 

I very much like this bitter-sweet feeling, emotionally moving power. Even more that, I am very much fascinated with the way it works, subtle triggers that evoke it. It is, after all, a deeply sensual experience. Olfactory memories are probably the most powerful, but also the most subconscious of them all, so most of times they come as an overwhelming surprise to us, don’t they? Now, our taste sense is a completely different story. I doubt there’s a single person in the world who does not affectionately remembers some of their very first culinary family dish prepared on special holidays or that bright juicy flavour of freshly picked berries from grandma’s garden. My childhood was not always full of fresh produce because a)  I grew up in Siberia with winter lasting for good 6 months, and b) we were not always well off. Despite these facts or thanks to them, but I learned to appreciate good food and could always tell the good produce from the bad one. 



We now live in times when everything we can possibly want to eat is available to us 365 days a year, wherever we live: strawberries in January, squash in June, Thai mangoes in Scotland, and Norwegian salmon in Thailand. We stopped appreciating seasonality and local concept of food, and almost forgot its real flavour. 
Let’s take apples. In supermarkets your choice is most likely to be quite scarce, I’d even dare to guess it’s going to be Golden Delicious and Granny Smith among maybe 2-3 other varieties, no matter where you live. That’s it. Have you ever wondered why are those the ones we always get? Are there no other types of apples in the world? The truth is there are around 7500 varieties grown around the world, but they’re more expensive, less enduring when it comes to transportation, but… so much more delicious! These varieties are hardly commercial and don’t make their ways to supermarket stalls, they’re more likely to be found in local farmers’ markets, or used in local produce of ciders, maps, marmalades… 


I always fondly remembered my childhood days spent in a little country house my grandparents used to have; among other things they had several apple trees. These were small and we didn’t harvest much from them, but I loved every moment of apple picking and apple eating at that time, because it felt so special!
This autumn, finally enjoying seasonality in food, I really wanted to find some ‘pick-your-own’ fruit orchard, and I did. Experience at Craigies’s Farm was wonderful, from their deli shop, to little farming animal section, and, of course, beautiful apple orchard.
They have a nice selection of different apple varieties, ripening at different times. We mainly picked Katie and Scrumptious, both are beautifully red-coloured and very fragrant, they had a distinct flavour difference. Scrumptious had a nice fresh acidity to it, while Katie tasted quite fruity, and even gave a slightest hint of strawberry to it. 
We brought so many apples home I had hard times deciding what I wanna make with them. One of the best experiments were these beautiful hand-pies. Since it’s still apple season now, take a chance and bake them for someone you love (or simply treat yourself ;)), they’re easy to make, and this nice combination of sweet juicy apples and intense flavour of mature cheddar will not leave anyone half-hearted!
Apple, Cheddar and Fresh Herbs Hand-pies
Serves 8
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479 calories
43 g
106 g
31 g
9 g
19 g
191 g
238 g
17 g
1 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 479
Calories from Fat 271
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g
Saturated Fat 19g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 106mg
Sodium 238mg
Total Carbohydrates 43g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 17g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 120 gr. all-purpose flour
  2. 120 gr. whole wheat flour
  3. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. 120 gr. cold salted butter (cut in cubes)
  5. 1 tsp fresh thyme (chopped)
  6. 60 ml ice-cold water
  1. 4 big apples (cut in cubes)
  2. 4 tbsp brown sugar
  3. 150 gr. cheddar
  4. 1 knob butter
  5. fresh thyme and sage leaves
  6. Egg wash and brown sugar for sprinkling
  1. 1. Mix flour, baking powder and thyme in a bowl. Rub butter cubes with your hands into dry mixture until crumbly with pea-size butter pieces. Quickly add ice water and mix the dough. Knead lightly, then wrap into cling film and chill in a fridge for about an hour.
  2. 2. Heat butter in a frying pan, add safe leaves and fry until crispy. Add apples and sugar, mix well and sauteeé for 5 min. Add thyme, and keep stirring until apples soften. Take off the heat, add grated cheddar and let cool.
  3. 3. Roll out the chilled dough, and cut circles around 10 cm in diameter. You can either make round or half-moon shaped pies. Put the filling, close the pies, brush with egg wash and sprincle with sugar.
  4. 4. Bake for 15-20 minutes in 180 Celsius oven until nice and golden цвета.
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