Cheddar Crusted Apple Pie
My mom’s husband (I hesitate to call him my step-dad because they were married after I was out of the house and married myself, after all) has a thing for apple pie. He talks about his late wife’s excellent apple pie and it is clear that those memories hold a special place in his heart. When you combine love, nostalgia, and sweets there’s almost no beating the memory you have of something you can’t ever taste again. There’s no point in even attempting to make the pie of his past.
So when you’re up against those kind of standards it is best just to turn the other way and make something completely new and different. Enter: apple cheddar pie.
I remember the first time I encountered this combination of cheddar and apples. During college I worked at the circulation desk in the library and I often shared shifts with this Greek boy, Morgan. He was an eccentric sort – decidedly intelligent but belligerently lazy. I would peer across our shared desk, jealous of his ability to live-and-let-live and be happy with a C in college classes. He adored the combination of cheddar and apples and remember him, once, talking incessantly about how delicious it was. I was skeptical but intrigued.
I didn’t try the combination but I started comparing it to my love of pineapple on pizza, the presence of grapes on cheese platters, and raisins in chicken salad. The combination makes sense. But should it pass as dessert?
It should pass as an any-time-of-day treat. This crust was amazing. AMAZING. So cheddary. So flaky. Easy to work with. The Omnivore, who was very skeptical of this treat, adored the recipe as well. The filling was perfectly consistent – not runny and gooey. It was a tad lemony from the addition of both lemon zest and lemon juice so next time I’d omit the zest.
Cheddar Crusted Apple Pie (adapted from Food Network)
- For the Crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/4 cups packed grated sharp Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
- For the filling
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2.25 pounds granny smith apples (about 5 large apples), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 beaten egg, for brushing
- For the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cold butter and grated cheese. Pulse the processor until the mixture resembles fine sand.
- Stream the ice water to the mixture. Run the processor just until the mixture rolls itself into a little ball. If the mixture is a bit dry, add more ice water by the tablespoonful until it comes together. Gather the dough into a ball.
- Divide the dough evenly in half.
- Shape each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, making sure there are no lumps in the cornstarch. Mix in the apples slices, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Toss to coat the apples completely in the mixture.
- After the dough has chilled, lightly flour the work surface and roll 1 of the dough disks into a 13-inch round. Carefully place the dough round to a 9-inch diameter pie dish. Brush the overhang with water. Pour the apple filling into the dough-lined dish.
- For the top crust, roll out the second dough disk on the same lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round, slightly smaller than the bottom crust. Carefully place the dough over the mound of apples. Press the overhang of the bottom and top dough pieces together to seal. Cut the excess dough to 1/2 inch and fold under. Crimp the dough under and pinch together. Cut 3 (2-inch) slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape.
- Bake the pie until golden brown, about 30 minutes. If the edge of the crust browns too quickly, place an edge guard or craft your own out of aluminum foil and place on the pie edge. Remove the pie from the oven and cool the pie on a rack for 1 hour.