Category Archives: Apple Pies

Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust

Apple pie with cheddar cheese crustIt must be that time of year again. The holidays are around the corner and we’re getting close to another turn around the sun. Pie time.

Recently, I was at a small gathering of friends in downtown Austin and the subject of pie came up. Someone asked if I’d ever baked an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust. I’d never heard of it. It sounds like a weird pairing but I was assured it’s quite good. So, because I hadn’t made a pie in a while, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d give it a whirl and share it here.

Most of this recipe is from Nancy Fuller, host of the Food Network show Farmhouse Rules. I made some minor edits based on item availability and some measuring goof-ups.

The crust:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt (use 1/4 tsp instead, I goofed)
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (4 ounces) grated extra-sharp yellow Cheddar (the color of the cheddar doesn’t actually matter)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor and give it a quick pulse to blend the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like clumped sand. Add the cheese and pulse again until combined and cheese is worked into the mixture and cut into small chunks. Turn the mixture out into a bowl, drizzle in 6 tablespoons cold water, and mix in with a rubber spatula until the flour is moistened. Add another tablespoon of water, only if needed. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and flatten to a disc. Rest the dough to relax the gluten, 30 minutes

The filling:

2 pounds (about 4 good-sized) Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 pounds Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, sliced into pats
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tbsp brown (or turbinado) sugar, for sprinkling

Combine the Granny Smith apples, Gala apples, sugar, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Adjust the baking racks to the center of the oven

Roll out 1 disc of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Add the apples in an even layer. Mine looked like a mound of sliced healthy goodness, with sugar. Lightly brush the edges of the crust with egg wash. Next, roll out the second dough round, slightly larger than the first. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie dough, pressing the edges to seal the crust. Trim the crust. Crimp the edges. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Make 4-5 air slits in the center of the pie and place the pats of butter in the slits. Place the pie on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours before tearing into it with your excited family or friends. Or even yourself.

The pie tastes very good. Granny apples are sour and Gala are a mix of sweet and sour so you got a bit of both flavors, along with the sugar and spice. The crust had a hint of cheddar flavor that went well with everything else. Tammi and the kids gave it a thumbs up and even added, “nice work Nettie” to the critique. Pretty rare. Then again, I hadn’t made a pie in a while. I wonder what I’ll make for Thanksgiving…

The apple pie cavern after 3 hours.

The apple pie cavern, after 3 hours

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Pie #46 – Pear and Apple Pie

Yesterday was my birthday so please forgive me if this is a day late. My wife and I spent the weekend in San Antonio as gadflies on the River Walk. There were lots of drinks and laughs and just all-around good times. I also enjoyed the salutations from a bunch of my friends and family via Facebook. Those were like a bunch of little presents. They were very much appreciated.

However, my week has been tinged with a bit of sadness as well. As I wrote in my earlier blog, our cat Fuzzle has gone missing. And now, a week to the day after she disappeared, our other cat, Ginger, has also disappeared. I’ve spent the week wandering our neighborhood calling out to both cats and even wandering into the wooded areas that we have around our house and in the neighborhood. There is no sign of them and I can already tell this is going to be one of those life mysteries where we will probably never know what happened to either of them. It’s sad. They were beautiful and awesome cats. After I got home today, I put away their food and water dishes. And we’ve already moved their cat perch into the garage, along with their toys. *Sigh*

Pie number 46 is a basic Pear and apple pie. I didn’t want to go through the effort of making pie dough today so I just bought a couple of ready-made crusts.

The ingredients:

Pear and apple pie

4 peeled, sliced and cored pears (or 1 can pear quarters)

4 peeled, sliced and cored apples (or 1 can sliced apples)

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of flour (preferably all-purpose)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

a pinch of salt

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. light cream (or you can use half and half)

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Thaw your ready made crusts. One will be the top of your pie.

Combine the sliced apples with the sliced pears, brown sugar, and one-quarter cup of sugar in a large bowl. Also throw in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Pour the apple and pear mixture into pie pan. Dot the top with butter.

On a floured surface, roll out other dough into a 12 inch circle and transfer to top of the pie. Seal the crust and cut slits into the top. Brush the top with cream. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.

Bake for 50 minutes and cool for an hour. At 30 minutes you may want to check on the pie as the cream and sugar on top will darken the dough considerably. I recommend covering the top in foil after 30-35 minutes.

It’s an easy and quick recipe and tastes pretty good. I recommend a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it.

Good night girls. I miss you both:(

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Pie #41 – Healthy Apple Cinnamon Pie

There’s a lot going on around town this long Labor Day weekend. It’s all spelled F-I-R-E. It’s really windy here and my wife and I keep a watchful eye as the wind whips and some of the surrounding area burns.  I wish all my friends in the affected areas surrounding Austin love and blessings. I hope you are alright. The only upside to the weather is that it’s a downright chilly 90F in the area today. It should be like this for the rest of the week. Which will be nice.

Pie 41 is a simple yet healthy apple cinnamon pie. The crust is a wheat flour crust/unbleached flour mix. I like the crust for this; it was manageable and easy to transfer. It was also really simple. The recipe for the crust only makes one so if you need a top for your pie you’ll need to double up on the ingredients.

The crust!:

Pie number 41, Healthy Apple Pie

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup natural corn oil (Iused canola)

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup ice water

Blend ingredients together in a small bowl until it forms a flaky dough. If it seems dry, add one tablespoon of cold water at a time until it holds together.  Form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for one hour. Roll out one crust and transfer to a 9 in. pie dish. Place in fridge until you are ready to fill with your apples.

The filling!:

4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced in thin wedges

2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 cup equivalent of sweetener (make sure you read the label for equivalent of sugar)

2 tbsp. wheat flour

1/2 cup margarine or butter

Pre-heat oven to 325F.

In a large bowl, peel and slice your apples. Add your cinnamon and blend into apples. Mix flour into sweetener. Place the peeled, sliced apples in the crust until it’s about 2/3 full. Sprinkle half the sweetener mix over apples. Place remaining apples slices into pan and sprinkle remaining sweetener mix over them apples. Slice the margarine and dot over the pie.

Roll out your top crust and transfer to pie. Crimp edges decoratively. Slice top to vent.

Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until the crust is light brown.

Mmmmm, delish. Sugar free apple ice cream adds to the pie as a nice garnish.

I have 11 pies to go:) It must mean that fall is almost upon us. Now if fall would only bring rain…

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Pie #14 – Apple Vanilla Cream Pie

Apple Cream

Nicole is in town from San Francisco. Jewelz is in town from Houston. Tammi and I are very excited to see the both of them. It’ll be a slumber party!

Nicoles favorite pies are in cherry or apple form. I looked up apple pies and found one that calls for vanilla and cream. It sounded tasty so I decided this weeks would be apple vanilla cream.

The recipe is Frankenstein. I did a double crust from a recipe in the Bon Apetit Desert Cookbook. I pulled the filling from a recipe in cooks.com. It’s attributed to CW. Thank you CW:)

The crust!

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flower

1/2 tsp. salt

10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

3 tbsp. (or more) ice water

The filling!

6 cups thinly sliced apples
1 tbsp. vanilla extract or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cream
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla
4 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a pie dish with the bottom pie crust. Mine became a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle. Todays bottom crust was not pretty. Amazingly, the top crust wasn’t as bad. And it was room temperature. Advice – roll out the dough while it’s still cold.

Wash, peel and core apples. Arrange thinly sliced apples in the bottom pie crust.

Combine all remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour mixture over apples. Cover pie with second crust; crimp or flute edges and cut slits in top, creating vents to allow steam to escape.

Brush the crust with milk, cream, or an egg wash.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until apples are tender (check through the center vent). Make sure to check it at 45 minutes to see how the crust looks. If it’s got a nice tan to it, I might be time to remove from the oven.

After I pulled the pie from the oven, a small group of us went to the Salt Lick in Drifwood for some BBQ. We came home to a very pleasant desert, garnishing with vanilla ice cream. The pie is still slightly warm, the apples held up well and didn’t go mushy. It has a good hint of vanilla and cinnamon. The crust is a nice, flaky crust. My friends like it. I want another piece…

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Pie #3 – Apple Caramel Crumb Pie

I didn’t do the pie until saturday night. We had a dinner engagement Sunday evening and we brought desert. I just hope this pie worked.

According to the menu I needed 8 apples. I think 4 would have probably worked. I have enough for 2 pies and may make another one tomorrow.

I may have overcooked the caramel. The menu called for the sugar and water mix to turn dark amber before taking it off heat to add butter and water. I just hope dark amber and a lighter shade of black are close:) I added a teaspoon of granulated sugar over the top of the apples as a sort of insurance policy. Or perhaps a bit of hope…

The brown sugar crumble that goes over the top turned out pretty good, and as I looked at it in the oven, it formed a nice crust over the top of the pie.

The crust came from a box and turned out alright. Simple pie crust becomes simpler. I’ll try making one from scratch next week.

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