It 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.
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
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…