My first pie of the week was a success! A grand one, if I do say so myself.
While we were in Paso Robles, CA last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Avila Barn & Gopher Glen. The former was where I got a 10 lb bag of apples straight from the farm and it was at Gopher Glen I found the most amazing book simply called Pie - "300 tried and true recipes for delicious homemade pie" by Ken Haedrich - everything you could ever need or want to know about baking this delicious pastry!
To herald in fall and in conjunction with the scores of apples we returned home with I decided to surprise Matt by christening my Pie of the Week project with the best apple pie idea found in the entire apple pie portion of the book (yes, a section with over 150 pages dedicated to just apple pie):
"Apple Pie with Cheddar Cracker Crust!"
As Haedrich points out at the preface of this section, cheddar cheese and apples have been a longstanding tradition in the U.S., particularly in New England and - I might add - in kindergarten and preschool classrooms everywhere.
I want to encourage you to buy (or borrow from the library, like me!) the book, so here is just the sum of the recipe with my notes.
|APPLE CHEDDAR CHEESE PIE
6 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced apples
1/4 cup of sugar
another 1/4 of sugar for later
big pinch of salt
2 Tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
cheddar cracker topping:
2 1/2 Cheez-it crackers (white cheddar is the best!)
1/4 cups of cold. unsalted butter cut into 8-12 pieces
3/4 cup of finely shredded sharp white cheddar cheese*
*I used Trader Joe's Dublin Irish white cheddar and added extra, super-thin 1/2 inch wide strips to make a lattice
1) prepare the crust (duh.) & preheat the oven to 400 F degrees
2) mix the apples, the first 1/4 of sugar, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside to juice
3) mix together the cornstarch, the other 1/4 cup sugar and add to the apples when they are done juicing
4) pour into the pie crust and flatten with your hand
5) place in the oven for 30 min at 400 F degrees
6) after 30 minutes, change the temp to 375 F degrees and bake for another 10 minutes
7) while the pie is baking, prepare the crust by pulsing all the ingredients in a food processor (except lattice strips) - making sure they clump more or less evenly
8) after the pie has baked for a total of 40 min, remove the pie, add the crust, and return to oven for 20 more minutes, or until the crust begins to brown on top
*9) add the lattice cheddar strips in the last 5 minutes so that they melt, but are not brown (if they are too thick or too brown, they will not be as clearly visible on the crackers and also very difficult to cut at room temperature - which is the preferred way to serve!)
I think next time, instead of using white cheddar for the lattice, I'll stick with good old super sharp orange cheddar! I haven't baked with it, so we'll just have to see. An alternative might be to use regular Cheez-its and the white cheddar the recipe calls for. Next time...