2016-07-27_0011In early June, I headed up to Napa Valley to #SavorTheSummer with Castello cheese and Trinchero Family Estates. It was an incredible weekend of food and fun with Liren Baker, Ashley Marti, Molly Yeh, Tieghan Gerard, and the teams at Castello and Trinchero. We ate, we drank, we laughed…and we ate some more.

I’m pretty sure I could live off cheese and wine…and maybe some water. Yeah, a little bit of water would be good. Anyways, it was an awesome weekend.

During our time in Napa, we had the opportunity to do some wine tasting and pairing with James Houghton (Executive Chef of Trinchero Family Estates) and cheese tasting and pairing with Michael Symon (Iron Chef, co-host of The Chew, and restaurateur). My absolute favorite cheese from the weekend was Castello Aged Havarti. It’s slightly crumbly, perfectly creamy, a little bit funky, and scattered with small, flavor-packed crystals that make for a rich, buttery taste.

I like to pair aged cheeses with something sweet. Blue with apples, pears, and honey. Manchego with figs, quince, and grapes. Havarti with apricots, raspberries, and strawberries. Voilà…Aged Havarti and Strawberry Hand Pies.


These hand pies are buttery, flaky, slightly tart, perfectly sweet, and oh-so-delicious! Eat ’em with a fork or pick ’em up with your hand…either way, these little pocket-size pies will change your life forever. Oh, and as if the pies weren’t enough, I’ve paired them with Folie à Deux Cabernet Sauvignon. Cheers and happy baking!




Pâte Brisée

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and very cold

3-4 Tablespoons water, iced


3 cups strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Water, enough to cover the strawberries

2 Tablespoon corn starch

2 Tablespoons water, for corn starch slurry

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

3 ounces Castello Aged Havarti, sliced

Egg Wash

1 egg

1 Tablespoons heavy cream

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling



Pâte Brisée

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add the cubed, cold butter and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.

Slowly pour in the ice water a Tablespoon at a time, being careful not to add in any ice. Pulse until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with your fingers.

Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and quickly (you don’t want to melt the butter) form the dough into a ¾-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


In a medium sized pot, add the strawberries and sugar and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. While the mixture continues to simmer, prepare the slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir until the starch is completely dissolved and the mixture resembles milk. Turn the flame off, add the cornstarch slurry, and stir until completely combined. Bring to a roaring boil and stir continuously for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Egg Wash

Whisk together the egg and heavy cream in a small bowl. Run through a sieve.


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble the hand pies, place the pâte brisée onto a floured surface and roll to about ¼-inch thick. Cut 12 3-inch rounds from the dough. Using a fork, prick holes in 6 of the rounds. These will be the bottom of the hand pies. One at a time, brush the bottom cutouts with egg wash, top with a slice of Castello Aged Havarti, and heap on a Tablespoon of the strawberry mixture. Gently place the top layer of dough over the filling, pressing down with your fingers to create a seal. Press a fork into the outside edges.

Place the pies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 375 degree for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


What do you think? What are some of your favorite cheese pairings? Would you ever be brave enough to use an aged cheese in a dessert? Let me know in the comments below.

Oh, and if you run into trouble, shoot me a text at (909) 890-7860. Seriously, I’m happy to help…and yes, that really is my phone number.



This post is sponsored by Castello. The content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Caroline BeGole Sa - July 28, 2016 - 12:06 pm

Josh my mouth is watering. I’m going to give it a go! I havent put cheese in pies before sound decident. You visit to Nappa Valley sounded heavenly!! (Whispering : you have ” enough water to cover blueberries) you meant stawberries right?