I’d like to start off by wishing y’all a Happy Belated Apple Pie Day. I’m a new comer to the pie world, so I hope all of you pie aficionado’s out there can forgive me for my tardiness; perhaps after I tell you about the pie I made this weekend…
Let’s back up. Another Saturday morning. Woke up early and did my morning stumble on tumblr. I came upon a post about National Apple Pie, and got an aching in my core for some warm apple pie. I had a dinner party that night and I promised dessert. How perfect! I mean I’ve never made an apple pie before, but with a little focus, a dash of passion and a serving of obsessive compulsiveness, I knew I could swing it. After two hours of googling recipes, I finally decided on what I would make: Cheddar Apple Pie.
Every blog started with “I know it’s a weird combo”, but it instantly made sense. I’m a big lover of sweet and savory. Ever had maple syrup and cheddar cheese?…Amazing. If you haven’t tried it, make it your next guilty indulgence, but be careful not to eat the whole block. Cheddar with Apple Pie is actually loved by all New Englanders. No kidding…some of the best cheddar cheeses (besides Ontario and Quebec) hail from there. My mom also had cheddar with apple pie. Growing up in a bustling house with an ever more bustling mother who loved to cook, she got to experience good home cooking. She told me my Bubbie would often have slices of cheese beside the apple cake. If my bubbie was doing it, I know this was legit and not much could go wrong…well only if ‘clutsy me’ took over.
For the recipe, I used the epicurious as my starting point and borrowed from other websites, while adding my own personal touches.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
2/3 cup (about) ice water
3 pounds Ida Red apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 whole fresh lemon juiced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tbsp - cinnamon sugar mixture
1 tbsp of wild honey (or any honey)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
Cut shortening and butter into small cubes and chill. Needs to be very cold to get flaky crust. Blend flour and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using several on/off turns. Add cheese and cut in until shortening and butter resemble small peas. With machine running, gradually blend in enough very cold water until soft moist clumps form. Once it comes together. Gather dough into ball; hand kneed for a couple turns, make into a round ball and flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Peel and core apples. Give them a honey bath in cold water. Cut into very thin slices. Thank you to my Shun knife for being so glorious! Mix apples, brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, flour, lemon juice, cin/sugar mixture and spices in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
Getting Ready for Take-Off:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 15 minutes.
Hand kneed dough to warm it up and divide into two equal pieces. Roll out dough on floured surface to quarter inch thick into an oval.Cover as much of the bottom as you can. Spoon fruit into pie and fill right to the edge. Place the 3tbsp of butter cut up across the fruit. Roll out other half into an oval, quarter inch thick and about ½ inch larger than pie dish. Crimp the border with your fingers…or buy one of those fancy pie plates. Tuck in dough around edges. Brush lightly with egg wash. Bake pie 15 minutes. Take it out and brush crust with egg glaze again. Top with 2 teaspoons sugar. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pastry until golden, about 35 minutes. Cool on rack 15 minutes.
I was a bit nervous once I put the pie in the oven, since I realized I didn’t pre bake my inner crust. YIKES! After taking a few deep, deep breaths, I was calmed by the memory of my mother telling me that my Bubbie never baked the inner pie shell. That woman could cook with her eyes closed while playing mahjong; I could trust her.
After a sweat induced 45 minutes, my pie was ready and she was a beaut. She was throbbing from the inside out, oozing in sugary apple goodness and swelling from her cheesy core. This pie was begging to be eaten. I brought it down to my neighbors after dinner ended. We all stood in the kitchen as she warmed up in the oven, distracting ourselves with conversation, struggling to keep focus, due to the smells permeating the air. Enough was enough. We took it out of the oven, grabbed six plates, opened the vanilla ice cream and cut six heaping portions of Cheddar Apple Pie. The next thing that happened was R rated and may offend the ears of some conservative pie eaters. Let’s just say there was a whole lot of groaning.
I didn’t leave the pie behind. Our hosts understood. Gave a piece to my mother, to my partners brother and then there were only two. It wasn’t even 24 hours later and the pie dish was completely empty. A few remnants of burnt cheese on the side was all that was left and that was a job only the kitchen sponge could handle. I don’t know if it was luck but this pie was mighty fine. I’m looking forward to my next. Blueberry season is right around the corner.