Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust
Apple pie is a quintessential American dessert. It also happens to be my husband’s favorite pie. He likes a traditional version, not too sweet with a dash of cinnamon, made with Golden Delicious apples.
But I occasionally get middle-aged wild and do something different.
Apple Pie with Cheese
An apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.
Depending on where you grew up in the United States, you either eat your pie with a side of ice cream (called a la mode) or with a slice of cheddar cheese on top. Mostly folks in the Midwest and New England seem to be in the pie with cheese camp.
Vermont, where apple pie is the official state pie, even has laws regarding how the pie is to be served. The law reads:
When serving apple pie in Vermont, a "good faith" effort shall be made to meet one of more of the following conditions:
(a) with a glass of cold milk,
(b) with a slice of cheddar cheese weighing a minimum of ½ ounce,
(c) with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.
That is some major dedication to having dairy with your pie.
Buttery white or bright orange, cheddar is among the five most popular kinds of cheese in the U.S. When young, cheddar is mild and slightly nutty. If aged over six months, the cheese progresses to develop tangy and more complex flavors that are perfect with fruit, especially apples.
Best Apples for Apple Pie
Can you use any kind of apple for pie baking? You can, but you might not get the results you want. Some apple varieties are better eaten raw as snacks because they break down to mush when baked.
Apples that hold their shape and their apple-y taste after being cooked are what you are looking for when it comes to the perfect pie.
Using a single variety? Golden Delicious or Braeburn is the way to go. They both retain their shaped when baked and don't descend into applesauce territory.
Using two types? A combination of Granny Smith for tartness and Gala for sweetness produces a good balance of apple flavor and aroma. These varieties also bake well.
Yes, making a homemade pie takes time. But we all know the results far outweigh the effort put into it. Plus, you can customize the crust and the filling to your liking.
This next-level apple pie includes browned butter in the filling, adding a slight nuttiness and depth. The crust? Why the cheese is baked right in, thank you.
- Don't be afraid of the cheddar. No one is going to mistake this for a quesadilla. The cheese gives the crust some salty notes which complement the sweet filling.
- Take the extra time to chill your pie crust. I know you don't want to. But skipping this step may cause your crust to produce the dreaded soggy bottom. Paul and Prue would not approve.
- Use whatever apples you like, but aim for a combination of tart and sweet varieties.
Many thanks go to Jenny Park at Spoon Fork Bacon for her recipe!Print
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup cold salted butter, frozen and grated
- ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 Gala apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ cup browned butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
- Combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Dump in the cheddar cheese and mix with the flour. Sprinkle water evenly over the mixture and gently stir until incorporated. Gently squeeze a portion of dough to see if it holds together. If you need more water, add it 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Turn out the dough onto a work surface and divide it in half. Form each half into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Mix together all the filling ingredients, except for the browned butter. Let the filling sit for 1 hour to macerate. If you haven’t browned the butter yet, you can do this step now by placing the butter in a small saucepan and letting it melt over low heat. Watch the butter so it doesn’t burn and remove it from the heat once it reaches a golden brown color. Set aside and let cool.
- Roll out one dough disk on a floured surface and place it into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Add the cooled butter into the apple mixture and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the pie shell then refrigerate while you roll out the top crust.
- Use the remaining dough disk to make the top crust. Roll out in one piece to cover the pie or cut into strips to make a lattice top. Combine the egg and water to make the egg wash, then brush the top crust with it. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake the pie at 400 F/204 C for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 F/190 C and bake for 45 minutes more. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.