What could be more fabulous than apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese on the side? One with the cheese baked right into the crust. This Apple Pie with Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Crust was made in honor of my Grandpa Hayes, who loved the unique combination. If you have never tried the pair, I know it sounds a little bit bizarre. But trust me on this one. A crumbly slab of cheddar is a centuries-old accompaniment to a slice of apple pie; it imparts character in a way that a scoop of ice cream can’t hope to match. Adding grated cheese to the crust tweaks the tradition, thus bringing an iconic dessert full circle.
Over the past two to three years I’ve written a lot about my Grandma Hayes and how her and my mom have taught me everything I know when it comes to cooking and especially baking. What I haven’t talked much about, is my Grandfather. John Hayes was your typical farmer, a hard worker and was always dressed in a t-shirt or a flannel and his John Deere hat. A few years ago he lost his battle with ALS, and every time I make an apple pie I think of him. If you’ve been following me for some time you know my Grandma Hayes makes the most incredible apple pie, and Grandpa and I were quite the fans of it. I have fond memories sitting around the large farm table in their kitchen when he was on a break from working in the barn. More often than not, we chatted over a piece of apple pie and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.
Although Grandma never added cheddar cheese to the crust, I decided to tackle the recipe. I suggest using extra-sharp cheddar to bring out the flavor and although this may not be traditional, it’s fabulous.
1 hour and 10 minutes
3 hours and 30 minutes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (4 ounces) grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 pounds Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, sliced into pats
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- For the pie crust: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor and give it a quick pulse to blend the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like crumbly sand. Add the cheese and pulse again until combined and cheese is worked into the mixture and cut into small chunks. Turn the mixture out into a bowl, drizzle in 6 tablespoons cold water, and mix in with a rubber spatula until the flour is moistened. Add another tablespoon of water, only if needed. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and flatten to a disc. Rest the dough to relax the gluten, 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Combine the Granny Smith apples, Braeburn apples, sugar, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Adjust the baking racks to the center of the oven.
Roll out 1 disc of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Add the apples in an even layer and dot with the butter. Lightly brush the edges with egg wash. Roll out the next dough round, slightly smaller than the first. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie dough, pressing the edges to seal the crust. Trim the crust so you are left with a 1-inch overhang. Tuck the crust underneath itself so it’s flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges decoratively. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Make 5 air slits in the center of the pie. Place the pie on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours, before slicing.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller