My favorite recipes are the ones that evoke memories. Nana’s banana bread. My mom’s baked spaghetti. Mimi’s chicken and dumplings. The foods that come attached with a series of moments or a special person are the ones that I find most comforting. They just taste like home. Since this is the first recipe of the *official* fall season (let’s be honest, I’ve been secretly dreaming of fall via my denim-filled online shopping carts and cozy coffee creamer choices for about a month now), I thought I’d go all out and share a super fallish recipe: cheddar apple pie.
Apple pie, for me and likely every other Thanksgiving-celebrating American, is an incredibly nostalgic recipe. One of my first real baking experiences was spent with floury hands in a bowl of pie dough destined to encase a gooey apple and cinnamon filling. My Mimi, who makes apple and pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving, first let me saddle up at the counter with her as a middle schooler. With two forks and some serious forearm endurance, we cut fat into dry ingredients, pat together clumps of shaggy dough, and gingerly rolled out thin slabs to fit inside of the glass dishes. It was a technique and recipe she had used for years, and I learned how to make pie dough by studying her methodical movements over the edge of the counter.
Pie dough is still sometimes a mystery to me, and although I have a favorite classic recipe, an all-butter recipe, and even a savory cornmeal dough, I’m always tinkering with the ingredients and technique to try out new combinations. Still, very few pie crusts taste as good to me as the ones that hold my Mimi’s apple pie filling, because you just can’t beat nostalgia.
This cheddar apple pie is a variation of sorts of a few different pie dough and filling recipes that I’ve used over the years. Here, the classic apple, sugar, cinnamon, and spice combination is complimented by a cheddar cheese and butter crust. Yes, we literally take a delicious block of Kerrygold aged cheddar cheese, finely shred it, and work all that goodness into the flour and butter. The final outcome is a crust whose flavor is subtle but entirely unique, a pairing that goes really well with the autumnal filling.
If you’re new to pie making, don’t let this cheddar apple pie scare you. Adding savory elements to dessert is never really my favorite thing, but here, the cheese only barely scents the crust of what is otherwise an entirely sweet and cozy pie. Loads of sugar and apple pie spice bake in with juicy apples until the insides are bubbling and thickened. If you notice you crust starts to brown too much before the filling has had a chance to thicken up, just lightly drape it in a sheet of tin foil. I always like to bake the pie with a larger sheet pan or piece of foil directly beneath it to catch any bubbled-over juices as well.
Here’s a few more basic pie tips to help you out along the way! I want you to have the best luck with this cheddar apple pie, so for best results check out these tricks I always like to adhere to:
- Don’t overwork the dough! Cut your fat into the dry ingredients and stir in the water with as few steps as possible to keep your dough tender. If you work with it too long it will get tough.
- Work with a chilled dough. Slightly warm or less than cold doughs will slouch and not keep their shape in the pan!
- Know that all pie plates bake differently. I prefer to bake pies in my hearty metal pan because I find this yields the most evenly baked pies. Beware that pie crust tends to sag or shrink back in ceramic pie plates. I like to briefly freeze my bottom crust to help prevent this from happening.
- Leave a little hangover. When you roll out your bottom crust, you’ll need about a 1-2″ hangover of dough on all sides to give you enough to work with.
- Bake until the juices are bubbling! Bubbling juices in the center of the pie means that your filling will have had time to bake up. No bubbles means a runny filling.
- Be patient while you wait for your pie to cool. I like to let my pie come to room temperature throughout before cutting into it. You can speed up this process by placing it in the fridge.
Honestly, there’s probably a million other things I could say about pie baking, but I’ll leave you alone for now. In the meantime, many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this delicious post. I hope you all pick up some of their fab aged cheddar and unsalted butter to make this cheddar apple pie. You won’t regret it! Happy fall, y’all!
If you like this cheddar apple pie you should try:
Cheddar Apple Pie
This is a traditional cinnamon-spiced apple pie with a cheddar cheese and butter pie crust!
- Prep Time: 40
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 240
- Yield: 9 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the crust:
- 2–1/4 cups (350 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup ice water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
For the filling:
- 4 lbs apples (I used about 7 fuji apples), peeled, cored and sliced 1/8” thick
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon water
To prepare the crust:
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse in the butter until pea-sized clumps exist throughout. Pulse in the cheese to combine barely. Pour the vinegar into your ice water and stir. Add about 5 tablespoons of the water mixture into the bowl of the processor and pulse a bit. Add water a tablespoon more at a time until the mix begins to come together into a shaggy dough. Don’t overwork it. Dump the dough out onto a clean surface and bring it together into a ball. Cut the dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
To prepare the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out half of the dough onto a floured surface into a circle about an inch wider than your pie plate on all sides. Roll the dough back onto the pin and then unroll it into the pie dish. Brush a thin layer of the egg white wash onto the pie dough and place in the freezer while you prep your filling. Combine the sliced apples with the sugar, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, spice, vanilla, and salt. Toss to evenly coat the apples. Gently ease the dough into the edges of the pie dish and dump the filling into the prepared pie dish. Roll out the second half of dough onto a flour surface and use it to cut lattice strips or top your pie. Cut a few vent strips into the top of the pie if you opt out of a lattice and crimp the edges of the pie together as desired. Brush a thin layer of the egg white wash on top of the pie dough and place in the oven. Decrease the oven heat to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Decrease the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling under the crust. You can top the pie crust with a sheet of aluminum foil if it begins to look too dark. Allow to cool completely prior to cutting!