This recipe was inspired by the TV series "Pushing Daisies," which chronicled the misadventures of a hapless pie-maker with a penchant for waking the dead. Early on in the first season, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, his undead girlfriend, begins making pies to anonymously send to her cheese-loving, shut-in aunts. One of the pies mentioned is a Tart Apple Pie with Gruyère Cheese baked into the crust. This recipe endeavours to be exactly like that purportedly heavenly pie.1
1 Homeopathic mood enhancers not included.
Step 1: Gruyere Pie Crust
This is my first foray into actually making a pie crust from scratch, and it turned out to be a lot less daunted than I had initially feared.
The recipe that this is adapted from calls for 13 tbsp butter and 7 tbsp leaf lard, but I'm less than thrilled about the idea of lard, so here we use 20 tbsp of butter. Mmmm, butter. The ingredients for the crust are:
2.5 cups flour
1 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
20 tblsp cold, unsalted butter (in 1 tbsp pats, no sticks)
2 oz. Gruyère, grated1
6 tblsp ice water
Mix your dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar) well before adding your cheese. Once that is combined, toss in your butter and, using your hands (or a food processor :P), cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces resemble something akin to corn flakes in size and shape. You don't want to combine the butter fully as these good-sized chunks will melt when you bake it and produce a ridiculously flaky and delicious crust. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tblsp at a time, over the the flour mixture, tossing with a fork between each increment. Be careful not to add too much water! When the dough comes together when squeezed in your palm, it's ready. Divide into two slightly unequal parts and store in the fridge overnight, in plastic-wrapped disc form.
1 About 60 grams
Step 2: Tart Apple Filling
Ingredients for the filling:
3 lbs. Tart (Preferably Red) Apples1
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Peel, cut, and quarter apples. Cut each quarter into thinner slices. Toss with other ingredients. Bam. You're done.
1Rome apples or Harrelsons are good, but Granny Smith will do if you have no idea what I'm talking about.
Step 3: Assembling the Pie
In addition to the previously used ingredients, you will need:
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a large, clean surface, spread a light dusting of flour. Now roll out the larger of your two pie-crust discs until it's about 14 in in diametre. Place into a 9 inch pie plate and easy it in. Roll the second disk out to 12 in and set aside for now.
Pile your apples into your pie and be sure to scrape every last drop of juice over them. Place the top of your crust on top and seal the crusts together around the edges. Brush the crust with your beaten egg and be sure to cut a few slits for steam to escape.
Put the tin on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Put it in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until you begin to see the filling bubble up from the slits.
Remove from heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Step 4: Tasting
So, real quick, I just feel that I need to point out that, if you're on a diet, this pie will throw you way the heck off of it; remember, this baby is loaded with butter. ...You may also want to stay away from it if you have a heart condition.
And that's really unfortunate because this pie tastes AMAZING. Sweet and tart, with the most delicious, buttery, flaky crust I have ever eaten. The Gruyère comes out as a subtle, mild flavour that complements the apples very well; I have to wonder if the writers of the show really were secret pie aficionados! They were really on to something!