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Wednesday, November 9,2011

Rustic Apple and Cheddar Pie

By Danette Randall
All right, enough is enough.

Pumpkin recipes are done for now (until I change my mind, of course). We had a lot of fun though, didn’t we? I’m still in the pumpkin mood, but time to move along and give you fine people something new. How about something that will make your humble abode smell like a big warm hug from cousin Helen? I don’t know why Helen came to mind, but that name just brings on images of a big bear-type of hugger. Although most Helens I know are little, so it is beyond me why I picture a nice stout woman giving you all hugs. Good grief, you would think I would spend my time worrying about more important things (like chocolate), but I’m not gonna lie, I don’t.

OK, on to the dessert. This week, the big warm hug will be administered, not by Helen, but by Rustic Apple and Cheddar Pie. Can I get an Amen? Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze. That’s what I hear anyway.

I’m sure most of you have enjoyed a slice of sharp cheddar with your pie, but for those who haven’t, well, you are in for a treat. We aren’t serving the cheese up as an accompaniment, but melted right there on the top. This is a salty-sweet combo that will have you begging for more. Well, if you are the one making it, then I guess you won’t have to beg, but you get what I’m saying. How about, people will be begging you? Yes, that makes more sense.

This is a fall treat that works fine and dandy with the holidays. For all you antipumpkin pie peeps, this recipe will become your go-to. Don’t be whining about the absence of whipped cream or ice cream with the pie because it’s cheesy. Trust me, a little vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream fits right into this wicked good combo. Remember, salty and sweet is always a treat. Throw all you think you know about apple pie out the door.

This is the rustic version, which just means I slapped the dough right on a baking sheet, piled up the apples (granny smiths, holla) in the middle, folded over the edges a bit and zappo, bake and eat. If you really want to try something different, add blue cheese instead of the cheddar. This isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s my favorite, but I’m starting you out slow, breaking you in with the cheddar. If you love it, and want to advance, please try the blue cheese. There will forever be a place for you at my dinner table if you like it; you will forever be my people. If that doesn’t get you to throw some stinky cheese on your pie, nothing will.

Now, follow the directions, put some love into it, and invite me over when it’s done.

Rustic Apple & Cheddar Pie

Crust

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4-5 tbsp. water (cold)

Filling

4-5 apples (cored and sliced, peel on)

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp. allspice

1-1/3 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tbsp. melted butter (to brush on crust)

1-2 thick slices of cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheese)

Mix first three crust ingredients together in food processor (or large bowl, and use a pastry blender) slowly pulse in butter until somewhat incorporated.

Slowly add in water, 1 tbsp. at a time, until dough forms.

Take out, and shape into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge while making filling, or for at least 15 minutes.

Mix, apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in large bowl. Add in lemon juice, and toss to combine. Preheat oven to 375.

Take out dough, flatten into disc (about 1/4 inch thick), and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pile up apple mixture in center. Gently fold up edges of crust all the way around just until crust touches apples. Brush crust with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until apples are bubbling and crust is turning golden. Take out and place cheese on top. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Take out, and let cool. Cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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