Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

An Apple Pie Dual

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You know what's funny? I love apple pie. Wait, that's not the funny part.  What's funny is that I think I'm awful at making apple pie.  I'm not sure what it is. Maybe the fact that I'm comparing mine to my mom's... or that I never actually follow a recipe, so I could possibly be missing a huge step. Maybe I'm just being humble and actually make really good pie. Or maybe... nevermind. 

Every other food email I get has an apple pie recipe included in it. They all look so dang good that I couldn't help but make some. So I stopped by our local Dutton's market and picked up a peck of apples - some Paula Reds and some Molly's Delicious. Now, if you're an apple pie maker, you're probably yelling at the screen right now "why in the world would you use such soft apples?" Well, I didn't know I was until I started peeling/slicing them. So - I'm sorry. I learned my lesson and will be using crispier apples next time. My blog isn't all about copying me, but learning from my mistakes. *smiley face goes here*

As you can see from my first photo, I decided to use two different pie crust recipes. One was from the site Food52, the other from Martha (of which I used last year). Both involve shredded cheddar, though one has much more than the other. For the filling, I used the Food52 recipe with its crust and then made my own for the Martha crust.  The results? You'll have to find out for yourself - or just keep reading until I tell you.

Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie
Serves 8-10

3 pounds apples, preferably a combo of Cortland and Honey Crisp, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
3 tablespoons semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons cold lard
1/2 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar
small glass ice water
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Toss apples and sugars together in large bowl. Set aside for an hour to allow apples to break down.

Sift flours and salt together by hand or in bowl of food processor.

Add butter, along with the lard and cheese, to flour mixture. Pulse food processor (or cut into flour quickly by hand) just until fat and flours turn into a pebbly mixture.

Remove blade from processor and sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of ice water on pebbly mixture. Using your hands, gently combine until the dough starts to hold together. Add more water as needed.

Cut dough in half and form into disks, one a bit bigger than the other. Wrap with wax paper and chill for about 30 minutes.

Roll out larger disk of dough on floured surface. Gently fit into pie dish, crimping the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400.

Poke dough in pie dish with fork to ventilate. Line with parchment or foil and add pie weights (or beans and/or rice). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until pie shell starts to look dry-ish on the bottom. Cool.

Meanwhile, onto the filling: Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over med-high heat. Swirl until the foam subsides and the butter turns a nut brown color. Watch closely - this can burn quickly. Toss with apples.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 tablespoons of water and toss into apple mixture.

Roll out second disk of dough on floured surface to fit the top of your pie.

Fill par-baked pie shell with apple mixture. Gently fit top over the filling, crimping the edges. With a sharp knife, cut slits or poke with fork to vent.

Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on top of pie.

Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes, until filling is bubbly.

Martha's Pie Crust

Makes two 9-inch crusts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (6 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


In a food processor, briefly pulse flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and cheddar; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter reamining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Don't overmix.

Divide into two disks. Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold plastic over dough; press to shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days). See Cheddar-Crusted Apple Pie for rolling and fitting instructions.

...with my filling

6-8 Apples, Peeled, Cored and Sliced
1 c. White Sugar
2 T. Flour
1 Dash Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 T. Apple Jack Liqueur
1 Egg White

Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on top of pie. Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes, until filling is bubbly.

*So how did the pies do? I had some lucky onlookers around to do the judging:

*The Food52 recipe was awesome. The browned butter makes all the difference. It creates this caramel apple flavor that really gives this pie that historic taste. Like, this is what I used to eat when I was a kid. The pie crust was also very good. A hint of cheddar can be noticed, but it's not over powering.

*The Martha crust simply had too much cheddar. Everyone could tell it was a little 'different' and it wasn't until I told them it was the cheese that they really understood. If you're not eating the two pies side-by-side, it's not as noticeable. If you're looking for a crust that's going to make people ask 'what's in this crust? It's different...' - than this is the crust for you!

*I'm still hoping to try King Arthur Flour's recipe, but the USPS (no offense to my mother-in-law) doesn't seem to leave stuff that doesn't fit in my mailbox, so I have to wait and go pick up my boiled cider.


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