“The people who influence you are the people who believe in you.”
Henry Drummond

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand PiesWholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … pies for a day like today that honours the humble pie. Handiwork of a genius foodie  who equated Pi Day to Pie day ….and the rest as they say is history. In taste terms these turned out to be quite delicious. I think they are a fab fit for Pie day which incidentally falls today on the 14th of March. {Read 3.14}

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies There was a time a couple of years ago when I never missed doing a pie for Pie Day. The whole concept had me enchanted. With a deep dislike {read  hatred} for math in school, the very concept of 22/7=3.14 being applied to mathematical problems flew over the top of my head. My poor father would break his head trying to drill some math intelligence into me. Never happened.

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Then came food blogging, the Daring Bakers, and a LOT of new foodie friends. We had loads in common. We would wake up and hop into twitter from right across the globe, and break into a twitter chat! It was an obsession, and a load of good was born out of it too. It was in March one year when, much to our amazement, someone started a chain asking to make pies for Pi Day? Most of us crawled out from under the rock … it was a huge YES!

Pi Day is an American annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in the month/day date format), 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π in decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

I’ve had some great pie baking on my blog. I credit a lot of what I’ve learnt to the Daring Bakers. Without them I wouldn’t have been half the baker I currently am. Some pies were FUN all the way like this Pie Bird & A Strawberry Pie I made after watching the film Life of Pi. I loved it!Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Some pie baking memories are poignant like the time there was a call for International Pie Day in honour of Jennifer Perillo. Jenifer’s Mikey loved Peanut Butter Cream Pie and she kept postponing making it for him. Then suddenly one day it was too late. I couldn’t make peanut butter cream pie as I had no peanut butter or cream cheese at home, but I made a no-bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie. Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieSo was talking to the Ruchira yesterday and she said she was making a yummy Cheese & Bacon Pie … and the first thing that came to my mind was Pie Day. She was like huh? There’s something like Pie Day? So the mathematical equation was duly explained. Was she excited or what.  She loved the very idea, and that in turn got me going. I would do pie too, hand pies!

ThymeWhat a memorable day today was. Just the motivation I needed! No time to do grocery so I had to work with what I had on hand. Apples & thyme. Walnuts and cheddar are pantry staples, so I knew just what to make. Not one for an APF pastry, I decided to challenge myself. Would do a wholewheat version … and surprise, surprise, it worked beautifully. Crisp and light. You wouldn’t miss the normal pastry at all!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Shortcrust pastry needs delicate handling; don’t overwork it. Make sure the cut in butter is pea sized. Add just enough liquid so that it comes together comfortably, little more than just staying together than pinched. Pull it together in a ball, don’t knead the dough. The pastry gets tough. Cling wrap it into a flat disk and chill for a couple of hours. Who doesn’t like a good rest?  The pastry does too. Mine got an overnight rest so I had little work for this morning. I did the filling last night too so basically I was just down to rolling and pinching today!

Eggs & ThymeI got the eggs out for a glaze. Then decided to keep it a 100% vegetarian. Someone on FB posted a honey glaze ages ago. Unfortunately I cant remember her name, but I remember honey! I love the the goldenish brown hue it gave my pastry.  It’s a great choice if you want to keep a bake a 100% egg free. I used to do a single cream wash in the past. Honey is my new wash to go!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies The flavours are beautiful too. Apples and walnuts are good old friends, cinnamon ties them together. Thyme and cheddar stirred in some magic. What a pleasing bite these had. Sweet little hand pies, just perfect for Pie Day. Despite being tired to bits with renovation on at home, a little nudge from a friends is all it took. It’s difficult to be optimistic all day, every day; and sometimes we need a little nudge to get on track! That is the power of being #together!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies So I manged to bake pie to mark the day. Something else good also happened today. I walked 10,000 steps with the GOQii fitness band. What’s that you might ask? More about that on my next post!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies
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Summary: Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … these pies carry a tale of their own. In taste terms as well. They turned out to be quite delicious, a fab fit for Pie day which incidentally falls today on the 14th of March. Makes 8-10 small hand pies.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

  • Wholewheat Short Crust Pastry
  • 150g whole wheat flour
  • 25g all purpose flour
  • 85g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • pinch salt
  • 15g brown sugar
  • 75g yogurt
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • Filling
  • 300g apples {2 medium}
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 7g {1tsp} corn flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 30g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 30g brown sugar
  • Few sprigs thyme
  • 50g mature cheddar, crumbled
  • Honey wash
  • 15ml honey
  • 1/2 tsp water


  1. Wholewheat Short Crust Pastry
  2. Place both flours, salt and sugar in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add chilled butter cubes and pulse for a few seconds until broken up but bigger than pea sized bits.
  3. Add the lime juice and 3/4 of the yogurt and pulse briefly on low speed until it begins to clump. See if it forms a doogh, else add a little more yogurt.
  4. Bring together into a flat disk, cling wrap and rest for an hour, or overnight.
  5. Filling
  6. Core, peel and dice the apple into tiny bits.
  7. Toss in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes for the flavours to marry, or in the fridge overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 or 10. {You will get approx 10 X 3″ circles of dough. Fewer if you do 4″ circles.}
  10. Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8″ thickness. Cut out circles about 3″ in diameter and lightly brush the edges with a finger dipped in water.
  11. Put a heaping tablespoon of apple mixture on center of dough circle and fold over, brush the edges with water, pinching ends shut or crimping with a fork.
  12. Place on prepared baking sheet, brush with honey wash, top with a sprig of thyme if you like, gently pressing it into place.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet CrumbleApple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … true comfort food and ever so simple. It’s one I make often, a crumble I mean. This year began in a special way. I had a surprise visitor and she brought me something I have longed for forever! A cast iron skillet, straight from the kiln, well almost, unseasoned and raw!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble Thankfully Sangeeta has a world of knowledge about this stuff. This looked raw, rustic and a little scary to tell you the truth. Man Friday was happy as ever to see it and went on to tell me how much cast iron was cooked in when he was young, and that the benefits are tremendous. How times have changed, and healthy practices have been buried under the sands of time!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Well he scrubbed it well with a piece of brick, removed the dusty coating etc. I dried it well, seasoned it with some cold pressed mustard oil. Then baked it in a hot oven for 30 minutes. It came out looking moorish. Can you fall in love with a skillet? I did! The great thing about cast iron utensils are that they can go from the stove top into the oven, and back again! The other huge benefit of course is that they gently seep iron into your food adding additional iron into your diet.

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble I was quite over the moon this morning and since I had just apples on hand, I set out to make an Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble. { …for those who noticed, I meant to use thyme, but sans glasses, I think I used oregano from the fridge instead! Oops! }. Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet took this up a few notches for me. I loved using the skillet, built an emotional connect with it, and want to use it all the time. 

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Past the crumble, I grilled a cheese and tomato sandwich for the daughter in it . Crisp, beautiful, comforting! Fried eggs and roasted tomatoes too. I can’t get enough of it. You’ll see a lot more of it popping up all over the place. Thank you Sangeeta, and thank you too for the coloured glasses! It’s been an inspiring beginning to the new year!

[print_this]Recipe: Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble your picture

Summary:  Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet takes it up a few rustic notches! Enjoy this gluten free version of the Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble .

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

  • Apple filling
  • 450g apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder 30g walnuts
  • 25g craisins
  • 15g rolled oats
  • 15g butter
  • 15g brown sugar
  • Few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • Topping
  • 25g oat flour
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 25g walnuts
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 15g brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 6-7″ round pie dish, or use a 6″ skillet.
  2. In a large bowl toss the apples in lime juice. Then add 20g brown sugar, cinnamon powder, walnuts, craisins, rolled oats and thyme leaves if using.
  3. Mix well. Reserve.
  4. Heat 15g unsalted butter in the skillet over low heat. Add 15g brown sugar and allow to bubble and dissolve. Mix well to cover bottom of skillet.
  5. Turn the apple mix into the skillet, and mix well to combine. Take off heat.
  6. Push into place gently, top with crumble, press firmly.
  7. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and or warm salted butter caramel sauce.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Never doubt that a small, committed group of people with pies can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Subcommandante Tofutti

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie PiesWholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies …  come December and the Daring Bakers challenge to end 2013 was to bake whoopies. Given all the frenzied baking over Christmas, these were fun. Whoopies always are. Relaxed, super creative and ‘in sync with the holiday season‘, they were a wonderful pick to end the year!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies

The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose… What else is there to say but “Whoopie!”

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies I still remember my first whoopies, Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies adapted minimally from a great recipe from Ree @ Pioneer Woman. Those were a big hit with the kids and adults alike. At the time Mr PAB did say they were oversweet. I reduced the sugar this time around. They were perfect!

Whoopie pies are a cross between a cookie and a cake (not a pie!), with two round, mound-shaped halves sandwiching a sweet creamy filling. According to Wikipedia, Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. It is also Maine’s official state treat. The traditional Whoopie pie consists of a chocolate cake and a vanilla marshmallow filling, but pumpkin and gingerbread cake is also common enough. 

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Onto this challenge, I knew I was going to go wholegrain, so half my work was cut out. I based my recipe on the Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies measurements, changing a few bits and bobs here and there. It worked quite well actually. The Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies began disappearing at an alarming rate!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Of course they aren’t as light, cakey and airy as all purpose flour whoopies. These are heavier to bite, more earthy, more rustic and definitely more healthy. I was glad I did the challenge pretty early in the month with red and green firmly in place. Later, each day raced into the next, the month literally galloping towards the end.

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies One look and bite into the whoopies and both kids {and Mr PAB} exclaimed, “You’ve made these before!” Bravo to good food memories! I had made my first whoopie pies back in May 2012 fresh from an invigorating trip into Old Delhi, one of my favourite places to be in. Time flies ….

It’s difficult to believe the year’s almost drawing to an end. December has almost vanished. It’s been a busy year. Being a Daring Baker is always a positive part of every year, though losing our co-founder Lis unexpectedly left us crestfallen. Knowing her, she would like the whisks in the kitchen to mix non-stop. Through these challenges, her spirit lives on.

Daring Bakers 2013 challengesThe challenges I have enjoyed through 2013 include Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter FillingSwedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes, Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk CakeMomofukus {Infamous} Crack PieSavoury Phyllo Pot Pies and Rye Cheddar Crackers & Pizza Dough Crisps.

Do stop by here and check out some real cutie pies the talented Daring Bakers are whooping with! Thank you Bourbonnatrix for the fun challenge. Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies
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Summary: Earthy, rustic and definitely more healthy that the normal whoopies, these Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies are worth the bite. If you don’t have Nutella on hand, you could do a peanut butter or salted butter caramel filling instead. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 75g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 175 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Method:
  1. Place the wholewheat flour, oats, baking powder, cocoa and chocolate in bowl of food processor. Blend to fine mix. Reserve.
  2. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, egg and salt and beat again.
  3. Mix in the baking soda into the boiling water. Beat into the butter mixture.
  4. Fold in the dry mix.
  5. Measure out tbsp scoops onto a prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes / until slightly firm to touch.
  7. Cool completely on racks and then sandwich with Nutella.


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