Friday, November 4, 2011

Can she bake an apple pie? Of course!

Pair of apples. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 It's Apple time here at A Cook and Her Books, where I'm celebrating one of the most valuable crops to my home state of Georgia - apples. What dish could express your cooking ability more than pie, and what is the ultimate expression of pie? Apple pie, of course!

I've made this apple cheddar pie several times this year - it came to me from PieLab, the home of pie goodness in Hale County, Alabama. It's even a prize-winning pie - I entered it into the North Georgia State Fair baking competition and it garnered a red ribbon - second place. (It should have won first place, but that's a story for another day). Not that I'm bitter or anything, it's just such a great pie, with a buttery crust flecked with shredded Cheddar cheese, and filled with sweet and cinnamon-y Granny Smith apples.

If you're hankering for an apple pie, give this version a try. The cheddar cheese in the crust gives it a rustic, hearty taste and texture. A slice of this treat and a cup of coffee (or juice for the kiddos) is a first-rate breakfast.

Apple Cheddar Pie. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Apple Cheddar Pie from Pie Lab

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 pound shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup ice water
1/4 cup white vinegar

7 large Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon white sugar

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Combine water and vinegar, and gradually stir in until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.) Roll one ball out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place bottom crust in pie plate. Roll out top crust and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, toss apples in lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Drain and discard any excess juice. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Arrange rows of overlapping apple slices, working from outer rim in. Dot with butter. Cover with top pie crust. Seal and crimp edges with fork, then trim excess dough. Cut a few slashes in top crust to allow steam to escape.

4. Bake on cookie sheet in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, brush lightly with beaten egg, and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more until sugar forms a crisp glaze. Remove pie from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

More apple recipes:

Apple crisp

French thin-crust apple tart

Classic apple dumplings

Short-cut apple dumplings


Apple blondie

My blue ribbon Morning Glory muffins include an apple for extra nutrition and flavor.

Two savory recipes on the site are made better with use apples: Mulligatawny soup and Easy Kid "Sushi."

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.


Helene Dsouza said...

I have never thought of a apple pie with cheddar cheese. O.O First time I hear about a sweet savory combination as your apple pie.

You forgot one apple pie/cake dessert in your list, the apple strudel. =P

I have the originall recipe here.

Anonymous said...

I need a good apple pie recipe because, sadly, mine have all been disappointing. (We didn't grow up eating them, having only insipid red delicious apples available in the grocery store, so I'm waaaay behind when it comes to cooking with apples.) I'm going to give yours a try and let you know how it goes.

Bell :)