For the man who believes hot things should be served hot, cold things cold and Thanksgiving requires both pumpkin and pecan pies à la vanilla ice cream, here’s a pie to usher in the holiday week. The cheddar cheese crust blurs the line between dessert and breakfast, which is totally appropriate for the man who taught me the importance of breakfast pie. Thanks, Dad.
Yields one 9” double crust pie
Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons sugar
8 oz. (2 sticks) of cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, frozen until firm
¼ cup ice water plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (you may need an additional teaspoon or two of cold water)
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the cold butter and cheese, and pulse just until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Turn this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the ice water/apple cider vinegar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, gently combining the dry mixture with the liquid, until the dough comes together. If you feel it needs an additional teaspoon or two of cold water, add it. Shape the dough into two discs, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before rolling out.
Apple Pie Filling
3 medium sized Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 medium sized Rome or Cortland or McIntosh apples (about 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
egg wash made from one egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar for sprinkling the crust
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll one disc of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a 12” circle. Transfer the dough to a 9” pie plate, roll and crimp the edges. Refrigerate. Roll out the second disc of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment into a circle measuring about 10 or 11” and place this on a baking sheet. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Peel, core and slice the apples into ½ “ wedges. Toss the apples with the lemon juice and lemon zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, the cinnamon and the cornstarch. Sprinkle this over the apple slices, turning to coat with a rubber spatula. Turn the fruit mixture into the chilled pie shell, slightly mounding the fruit in the center and tucking the apples in close together. Drape the second disc of dough over the filling without stretching. Press the edges together and trim the excess. Roll the edges of dough so they are flush with the rim of the pie plate. Using lightly floured fingers or a lightly floured fork, crimp the edges. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash, use a sharp knife to cut four slits on top of the pie to allow steam to escape, then sprinkle the top of the crust with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from overbrowning, and bake on the bottom rack of your oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees, bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the pie is bubbling in the center and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and allow the pie to rest for at least 3 hours.
A few words on apples and ovens…
Depending on the size of the apples you use, you should have between 7 and 8 cups of apple slices. I don’t like the pie to be overly sweet- you may prefer a touch more sugar in the filling.
Every oven is different; I start my pie at 400 degrees and reduce the heat to 375. If you feel that the crust is getting too brown, you can drape a piece of aluminum foil over the pie or you can lower the heat to 350 which will result in additional baking time. Test the pie for doneness using the tip of a small knife; you want the center of the pie to be bubbling and the apple slices to yield with just the slightest bit of give. You don’t want crunchy, but you don’t want applesauce.