There’s nothing quite like an apple pie for a potluck. It’s the pie that pretty much any group can agree on.
Apple pie always conjures warm memories of holidays with family and friends. My grandma makes fantastic apple pies and crumbles. Grandmas are the queens of apple pie. Sure, I make a pretty amazing dish, but grandmas just have the knack fostered by years of baking.
It wasn’t until I met my BFF that I heard of putting cheddar cheese on apple pie. This new idea intrigued me as I’m very familiar with the pairing of apple and cheddar (one of my favourite snacks as a kid was cubes of cheese and slices of apple skewered on toothpicks). I finally tried a cheddar-apple pie at a popular diner not too far from where I live. It was exceptional.
So, what would be a fun way to get the cheddar taste into an apple pie? I took inspiration from the numerous cinnamon bun pie crusts that I’ve seen floating around the internet and decided to substitute the cinnamon for some aged cheddar. Bingo. What a great combination.
An unexpected perk of this recipe is that some of the cheese gets deliciously caramelized. The important trick to remember is the older the cheese the better.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 11 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening), chilled and cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/3 cup ice cold water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces or 120 grams)
- About 2 pounds Granny Smith apples
- About 3/4 pounds Cortland, Fuji or Gala.
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon allspice)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
Step 2: Crust
Sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in lard and butter
with a pastry cutter or a pair of butter knives. Once the mixture is crumbly, slowly mix in the cold water and lemon juice until the mixture forms a ball. Be careful not to over mix. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C)
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and roll it up tightly to be narrow but thick. With a very sharp knife, cut 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices and place them in the pie plate, overlapping slightly, so that the pie plate is completely covered with slices. Don’t worry if they hang off the edge a bit at this point. If the cuts are causing the roll to squish, try placing it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll up the remaining dough and place it in the fridge to use for covering the pie later.
Step 3: Filling and Pie
Peel the apples and cut them into 1/2” cubes, put the apple cubes into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, toss together the sugars, cornstarch, spices and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss to coat.
Pour the apples into the prepared crust.
Roll out the remaining dough to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick and use it to cover the pie. Trim any excess with a sharp knife. Pinch the edges and cut slits in the top (I chose to cut slits at 0˚, 30˚, 45˚, 60˚, 90˚, et cetera). Brush with egg white. Cover the edges with a pie rim or tin foil to avoid over-browning. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely before carefully covering and bringing to potluck.