Last week, as I was helping Little Tot get ready for bed, I was overcome with the sudden craving for apple pie a la mode. Which is strange, because I’m not a huge apple pie fanatic. Sure, I like it well enough. But if given the choice between apple pie and something with chocolate, chocolate wins just about every time.
This craving just WOULD. NOT. GO. AWAY. So before I sat down to make a grocery list for the week, I knew I had to find a recipe and make this happen. Finally, in the back of a little used cookbook I found this gem. I believe my exact words when I read the title were, “Awh yeah, that’s exactly what I want!”
Making a pie crust from scratch is a skill everyone who fancies themselves a cook should have. That doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to use it. More often than not, I go the refrigerated pie crust route because it’s just convenient and saves time. However, this is one time where it is worth making the crust from scratch. I really liked the little flecks of shredded cheddar mixed into the crust. It was a nice, savory balance to the sweet and spicy apples.
The day I made this was the perfect day to make apple pie. It was overcast, grey, and drizzling. Let me tell you, there is nothing more comforting than some Melody Gardot playing in the background and the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg baking in your oven.
Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust
- For the crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- ⅔ cup ice water
- For the filling:
- 2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- For the crust:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne.
- With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles course meal. (TIP: You could also grate your butter and shortening on a box grater. Much easier!) Stir in the cheese until well combined.
- Sprinkle on the ice water and stir just until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Divide dough into half. Shape each into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove one disk and roll out onto a floured work surface until the dough is about 13 inches wide and ⅛ inch thick. Carefully transfer crust to a prepared 9-inch pie plate. Trim off excess dough and crimp the edges.
- Place a few pie weights into the center of the crust. Or line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake the crust for about 8 minutes. Remove the weights, return to the oven, and bake for 3 additional minutes. Allow the crust to cool slightly.
- For the pie:
- In the meantime, combine the apples with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon mixture into the prebaked pie shell.
- Remove the remaining pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of ⅛ inch. Carefully drape the crust over the apple filling. Crimp the edges. Slash holes in the top to vent steam.
- Place pie on a baking sheet with sides to catch any spills while baking. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Check pie frequently to make sure the crust isn’t browning too quickly. If it is, loosely cover the pie with foil and continue baking.
- Allow pie to cool slightly before serving.