Last updated on May 24th, 2023
Tart granny smith apples apples are baked into a flaky, savory cheddar cheese crust. Serve your Granny Smith apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Last week, as I helped Little Tot get ready for bed, I was overcome with the sudden craving for apple pie. 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. As I sat down to make a grocery list for the week, I made sure I jotted down the ingredients for granny smith apple pie.
What Type of Apples Should I Use?
Not all apples are created equal. You want an apple that has a crisp texture that will hold up during baking. Some of the best varieties for pie are Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jazz or Pink Lady. I think the tartness of a green Granny Smith apple provides the perfect balance when combined with sugar and spices. Therefore, it’s my preferred apple for pie.
How to Make the Pie Dough
In a medium mixing bowl, combine some flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Don’t worry, the cayenne adds a tiny touch of heat, but not enough to burn your mouth. My kids ate the crust with no problem.
Next, you want to add unsalted butter and shortening. You want little pieces spread throughout the pie dough. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to grate frozen butter and shortening with a box grater. Stir in the butter, shortening and shredded cheese until well combined.
Slowly add some ice water, a little at a time. You only want to add just enough water so that the dough come together. Add a little at a time, mix, then add a little more.
Divide dough into two halves. Shape each into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Don’t skip this step! You need to allow the gluten in the crust time to rest and you want the butter and shortening to stay chilled so you have a flaky crust.
When you are ready to roll out your dough, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remove one disk and roll out onto a floured work surface until the dough is about 13 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer the crust to a greased 9-inch pie plate.
I’ve found the easiest way to transfer a pie crust from the board to the plate is to coat your rolling with flour, sprinkle a little on the crust, then carefully roll the crust onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the plate. Once you have it positioned, trim off excess dough and crimp the edges.
Prebaking your Pie Crust
We want to prebake the shell to ensure the bottom is crisp. The problem with prebaking a pie shell is that the dough tends to bubble up in the bottom. The solution is to line the crust with waxed paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil, then place a few pie weights into the center of the crust. You can also use dried beans or rice. Just remember, the beans or rice aren’t edible after they’ve been baked.
Bake the crust for about 8 minutes. Remove the weights, return to the oven, and bake for 3 additional minutes. Then, remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
How to Make Granny Smith Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust
You’ll need roughly two pounds of sliced and peeled Granny Smith apples for your pie filling. I’ve found that a Y vegetable peeler works best for peeling apples. Once you’ve peeled the apples, slice them into quarters, remove the core, then cut into 1/4-inch slices.
Combine the apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon mixture into the prebaked pie shell.
Remove that last remaining pie dough disk from the refrigerator. Roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Carefully drape the crust over the apple filling. Crimp the edges. Slash holes in the top to vent the steam escaping from the pie.
You might want to place your pie on a baking sheet just to catch any filling that might bubble out during baking. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. At this point, I recommend giving your pie a peek to see if the crust is browning too quickly. If so, you can cover the edges with a pie crust saver or wrap them with strips of aluminum foil.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and allow pie to cool slightly before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Granny Smith Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust
For the crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2/3 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 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer crust to a prepared 9-inch pie plate. Trim off excess dough and crimp the edges.
- Line the crust with waxed or parchment paper. Place a few pie weights into the center of the crust. Or 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 1/8 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.