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

Advertisements

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Just in time for the holidays, I present to you the Pecan Pumpkin Pie. This is a pie for those who want to bake something for their holiday dinner and can’t decide which one to concoct. And this is also a pie for those of you that can’t decide which slice you want for dessert. This tasty pie comes courtesy of The Gourmet Cookbook, edited for the maximum delicious by Ruth Reichl.

The crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick (8 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch squares

1/4 tsp salt

3-4 tbsp ice water

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips, or pastry blender (or do what I did and pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles a course meal with pea-size lumps of butter. Evenly add 3 tablespoons of ice water in mix and mix (or pulse) until combined. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together add ice water a half tablespoon at a time, mixing or pulsing until incorporated. Don’t overwork the dough or pastry can become tough, which is great for street fighting but not pie making.

Turn dough onto work surface and split into 4 portions. With the palm of your hand, smear the portions in a forward motion to help distribute the butter. Gather the dough together into a ball. Place dough on plastic wrap. Press it into 5 inch disk. Wrap and place in refrigerator until firm, at least an hour. The dough can be kept for up to 1 day, just so you know…

While you’re waiting for the dough to firm up, make your fillings.

The pumpkin filling:

3/4 cup canned, solid pack pumpkin

2 tbsp packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp sour cream

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

The pecan layer:

3/4 cup light brown syrup

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups (5.5 oz.) pecans, chopped if you need to do such a silly thing

In a large bowl, mix corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla , zest, and lemon juice until well combined. Stir in pecans. Set aside.

Yay! now you just have to assemble everything…

Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat your oven to 375F. It’ll take about 8 minutes to heat up. that will provide you the time to get your pie shell ready.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

 

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling-pin to make a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate and trim excess to leave a 1/2 inch overhang. fold it under and crimp the edge as desired. Lightly poke the crust in several places along bottom with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes if desired  (I didn’t put it in the fridge). Line with foil and place pie weights, rice or dried beans onto foil. Place on center rack and bake for 20 minutes. carefully remove foil and weights and bake pie shell until lightly golden, 6-10 minutes more. Remove from oven (leave oven on) and allow shell to cool.

Once shell is cool, evenly spread pumpkin filling over bottom of shell.

Carefully spoon pecan filling over pumpkin layer.

Bake the pie until crust is golden and filling is puffed, about 35 minutes (center should still be slightly jiggly). Cool completely on a rack.

The flavor of this pie really pops. It gives both the smooth spiciness of the pumpkin layer and the sweet caramelized pecan layer.  It’s like a festive holiday in your mouth! The interesting thing about the flavor is that it’s so sweet, even with less-than-usual sugar fixing. I really enjoyed baking this because it was pretty easy. And the wait is worth the effort. My wife liked it too and suggested this be a tester for Thanksgiving. This pie will be one of the few (I’m not sure how many I’ll make, maybe 3) I end up making for the holiday. Have a great Thanksgiving and if I don’t add to the blog during this most wonderful time of the year, have a great holiday:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lazy Man’s Cherry Pie

It’s the first day of spring:) The weather is getting warmer in Austin (it was 76F today) and it’s almost time to go out and clear the dead crap from the yard. That’s something for the weekend if it doesn’t rain, but for today there was a need for pie. Problem is I’m feeling lazy and didn’t want to create something from scratch. So I grabbed a few things from the fridge and the cupboard and made a lazy man’s cherry pie. You can never go wrong with cherry pie, especially on the first lazy day of spring.

The crust:

2 pre-made, 9 inch, deep dish pie shells

1 tbsp. milk

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Pull pie shells from freezer and let thaw for 15 minutes. Separate one from the tin and roll it flat on a floured cutting board. You know, so it doesn’t stick. Set the milk aside to bind the top shell to the bottom shell when it’s time to bake.

The filling:

1 1/4 lbs. pitted, red tart cherries OR 2-14.5 oz. cans of Lucky Leaf cherries (I was lazy so guess which way I went)

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch (if you don’t have corn starch, you can use 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour)

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 cup of water (If you use the canned cherries, set aside one cup from the cans)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and mix until smooth. Stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and it bubbles. Continue to stir for an additional minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and butter.  Combine and pour into your pie crust. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with milk and place your cutting-board pie crust on top. Flute the crust and cut a slit in middle to vent.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake an additional 25-35 minutes or until the top crust is a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of hours. Dig in.

My vent didn’t work too well as you can see. But the pie was pretty tasty and not too sweet. I would recommend adding some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to add to it.

If you’re anything like me, I hope that spring is a way better time in 2014 than winter. I think it’s time to look for a few other recipes to try out.

Cherry pie

We have center vent fail.

..

The worlds easiest cheesecake pie recipe…in the world

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a Dollar General Store. Dollar General has all kinds of discounted stuff; housewares, furniture and (surprisingly good) food. While I was perusing snacks for the kid’s school lunches I found brand-name, pre-made graham cracker pie crusts. As I stared and thought about what I could do with them, an elderly woman approached me and said, “you could use those to make the worlds easiest cheesecake pie.” An easy cheesecake pie? Do tell!

The crust!:

1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

The filling!:

1 and a half blocks of cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

In a pinch on Thanksgiving Day? You're welcome!

Cheesecake pie, it’s what’s for breakfast.

Your prep time will be about 5 minutes and bake time is 30 minutes…

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and don’t overblend. Pour cream cheese mixture into your pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. The filling will be puffy and a bit jiggly but it will fall and settle as it cools. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Serve plain or you can add any fruit, or even chocolate, topping.

I had a slice for breakfast and all I can say is, should you decide to make this, all will be right in your world:) And thank you, wise woman in Dollar General!

Mixed Berry Pie with Oatmeal Lattice Crust

2nd place on the least presentable list.

2nd place on the least presentable list.

 

The 4th of July has come and gone. We are half way through the year and it’s fairly hot in the state of Texas. Not 2011 hot mind you, but still very hot. It’s strange days when you consider the upper 90’s not-so-hot.

We went to friends for the 4th and had dinner and made our own fireworks show in their front yard. Dinner consisted of hamburgers, potato salad, beer or margaritas, and a bit of pie. Not necessarily in that order. This recipe was pulled from Epicurious circa 1997.  You don’t need a national holiday to make or eat this one. But it is certainly worthy of baking for such a day.

The crust!

4 1/2 tbsp. ice water

1 large egg yolk

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tbsp. grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into piece

Grease your pie plate. Whisk 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water and yolk in small bowl to blend. Blend flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon peel and salt in processor. Add butter and process until coarse meal forms. Add yolk mixture and process using on/off turns until moist clumps form. Gather dough together and divide into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other. Flatten into disks; wrap each in plastic and chill 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out larger dough disk on floured surface (I use a floured baking cloth to make it easier to transfer to plate) to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under (if you have any). Crimp edges.

Line your crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until crust is set, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Roll out remaining dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

The filling!:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. grated orange peel

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 3/4 cups fresh raspberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3/4 cup fresh blackberries

1/4 cup blueberry preserves

1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Whipped cream (optional)

Mix 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, orange peel and nutmeg in large bowl. Add all berries and preserves and toss to blend. Pour filling into crust. Place dough strips atop pie, forming lattice; trim excess. Gently press strip ends to crust. Brush lattice with egg glaze. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles thickly in center, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour. Cool on rack. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream.

I scorched the crust as you can see but the sugar, glaze and berry mix did a nice job of taking that away . It was a bit messy to serve up but tasted very good and was a good way to end the evening. Onward to Labor Day…

Bacon Cheesecake with an assist from The Bacon Goddess

Bacon cheesecake is fleeting.

Bacon cheesecake is fleeting.

This is a recipe for a bacon cheesecake. If you like bacon, and you like cheesecake, you’re welcome…

This recipe is a combination of 2 different recipes with elements coming from the Bacon Goddess and other elements coming from the Baby Screamin its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin my Life Pie, which is also posted on my blog.

This was created for a Friday afternoon gathering at my place of employment. It went over well. I’m not going to pull your leg, this is damn good.

The Bacon!:

10-12 strips (about 1 lb.) of thick-cut bacon, as lean as possible

Prep:

Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Cover a sheet pan in tin foil. Lay out the strips on your sheet and make sure they aren’t touching. They’ll stick together and won’t cook. Bake  it 15-20 minutes or until it looks crisp. Remove from oven and place on a plate with paper towels on it so it can cool and crisp. Once cooled, put it into a food processor and pulse it a couple of times so you have your crumble. Set aside.

Set your bacon grease aside. You’ll need it for your crust.

The crust!:

2c (about 2 packages) of graham crackers

2tbsp brown sugar

4tbsp butter, unsalted and melted

2tbsp bacon grease

About 3 tbsp bacon crumble (this isn’t science, you can use your judgement)

Prep:

Set oven to 350F. Liberally grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Break up your graham crackers into food processor and blend until fine. Add sugar and mix. Add melted butter and bacon grease and blend until it looks coarse. Add bacon crumble and pulse until blended. Dump your mix into spring form and press along bottom and up the sides a bit. Place on center rack of oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want to burn it. Remove from oven and let cool completely. It should be cooled by the time you’re ready to pour the filling.

Keep your oven at 350F…

The filling!:

I'm cute AND delicious!

I’m cute AND delicious!

32oz. (4 8 ounce packages) cream cheese at room temperature

1 3/4c white sugar

2 tbsp vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 egg yolk

3/4 of your remaining bacon crumble

Prep:

In a large mixing bowl, blend your cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add bacon crumble and combine. Add one egg at a time to your mix and blend just until combined. Don’t over blend, you get too much air in your mix and the cheesecake will fall. Add yolk and blend until combined. Scrape the sided with a rubber spatula and blend to make sure your filling is mixed well.

Grease the side of your spring form above the crust line.

Pour your filling into the spring form.

On the bottom rack of your oven, place a pan with about an inch of water in the pan. This helps reduce the possibility of cracks in the side and top of your cheesecake.  Place your cheesecake on the rack above the water pan.

For the results I got, bake for 42 minutes at 350F. At 42 minutes, open your oven,  take your remaining bacon crumble, and spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Put back in oven and bake an additional 3 minutes.  By now, your cheesecake should be a golden brown around the edges.

Turn off oven and remove cheesecake. Run a thin knife around inner edge of spring form so cheesecake properly detaches from pan as it cools. Put it back in oven and leave the door cracked, about 40 minutes. This allows it to finish baking as its cooling. Remove and chill in fridge about 3 hours or until you are ready to eat one of the best desserts you’ll have in your life:)

Bacon Cheesecake2

Uncle Nettie’s Secret Weapon

Andre photo bombs the secret weapon

Welcome through the doorway and into the holiday season. This recipe, a cherry pie baked into the center of a cheesecake, was created for a Halloween bake-off at work. I didn’t win any prizes for this although it was a dessert that disappeared.

This concoction is dedicated to a friend who recently flamed out. I found out the day I made this that he had decided to make the jump. In front of a train. A crazy pie for a wild and crazy guy (who was also ring bearer at my wedding). RIP Paul Addis, you would have liked this one, my friend. It’s called Uncle Nettie’s Secret Weapon…

You will need a 9 inch pie tin and a 10 inch spring form for this concoction. A food processor and a hand-held electric mixer would be helpful too.

Move your oven rack to a lower position. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

The Crust:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

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

3 tbsp. cold water

In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and blend using on/off turns. Process until coarse meal forms. Add water and blend using on/off turns. Add water by teaspoon if dough seems dry.

Butter or vegetable oil the inside of a 9 inch pie pan. A smaller pie tin would probably be best as you want to make sure the pie you put in the cake is a bit smaller and more dense. Dense is key as you don’t want the pie to come apart in transfer.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Clip the dough to the edge of the pie tin. No need to flute or crimp the edges, it’s going into in a cheesecake.

Line the crust with foil and place dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, create a tin foil collar for your crust, making sure your edges are covered. You don’t want to burn the edge when you bake the pie with the filling.

The Pie Filling:

2 16 oz. cans (equal to 4 cups) TART cherry pie filling

1/4 cup granulated white sugar, or as needed

2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. cherry brandy

Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix with a large wooden or plastic spoon until joined. Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Spread the cherry filling to the tin foil collar.

Bake at 425F, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an extra 25-30 minutes.

Place on wire rack. Let cool completely. Transfer to fridge and allow 1-2 hours to chill. Two hours would be optimal.

Ready for the taste test

The Cheesecake:

4 8-oz. cream cheese (low-fat or regular), softened

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 3/4 cup white sugar

1/8 cup cornstarch

1 fluid oz. (shot) Cherry Brandy

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 egg yolk

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap outside of 10-inch spring form pan with foil. Butter the inside of your spring form.

In large bowl, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugar and cornstarch. Blend in sour cream and whipping cream. Add cherry brandy and vanilla. Stir in eggs and egg yolk one or two at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Pour half the batter into your spring form. Separate your chilled pie from the pie tin (we lined a plate with plastic wrap and turned the pie upside to separate). Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pie. Place the pie into the cheese cake mix. Pour the remaining batter over the top of the pie. Place the spring form in another pan at least 1 inch wider and add at least one inch of water to outside pan (prevents cracks in sides of the cheesecake). Bake on center rack for approx. 80-90 minutes or until the top of your cheesecake is a golden brown.

Turn oven off and let cool with door open for 1 hour. Remove cake from water and chill at least 3 hours before removing cake from spring form pan.

We sampled some before I brought it in to work just to be sure it was ok;) My wife liked the tartness of the cherry pie. The kids didn’t. I thought it could be a little more sweet but that’s my taste. The cheesecake itself seemed a bit flat and not as fluffy as your usual cheesecake. Then again, it had a pie in the middle of it.

My recommendation would be to add your own flavor to this and build on the beta version of this creation.

Shine on, Paul. You will always be in my heart.