From Rosso and Lukins’ The New Basics Cookbook, here’s the most decadent apple pie you can bake: cinnamony apples, sharp cheddar in the crust, plus a shot of heavy cream at the end. Divine! (And this from someone who doesn’t usually clamor for apple pie.)
I first tried this recipe while living in Belgium—and hungry for a taste of New-England home. My memories of that apartment: galley kitchen above a narrow cobblestone street; stone church with stained glass and bell gothically tolling; chilly air through the open window, which temperature helped my pie crust come out just right. I couldn’t believe how delicious this was—a comfort after long days of work in a cold stable.
More recently I made this pie for my dad’s birthday, with apples from our own tree at the farm. One thing: you must use the best quality cheddar. I love Cabot Clothbound. (The fabulous Murray’s Cheese shop in The Village, NYC, even recommends it paired with apples.)
I used my favorite crust recipe (doubled, plus a tad extra) and just added the dry mustard and cheddar, but here’s their full version:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, cold
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
8 tart apples, such as granny smith
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
For the Dutch Apple Pie version:
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Make the dough: whisk together the flour, sugar, mustard and salt in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender (or a fork, or your fingertips, if the kitchen’s not too hot), cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture forms small clumps. Then add the cheese and blend until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
2. Sprinkle the water, 2 tablespoons at a time, over the mixture and toss with a fork until you can gather the dough into a ball. Knead it once or twice in the bowl and divide it into slightly unequal halves. Wrap these and chill them in the fridge for 45 minutes or so.
Or see my favorite crust recipe and crust-making tips here.
3. As the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Prepare the filling: core, halve, and peel the apples. Cut them into 1-inch chunks. Combine the apples and melted butter in a large bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and toss until the apples are evenly coated.
5. Roll the smaller portion of chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a 12-inch circle. Transfer it to a 10-inch pie plate, and press it into the bottom and sides of the plate. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Reserve any excess dough.
6. Roll the larger portion of dough out to form a slightly larger circle.
7. Fill the pie plate with the apple mixture, mounding it slightly. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with water. Then transfer the top crust over the apples, tucking it slightly inside the rim. Trim off any excess, allowing a 1-inch overhang. Seal the edges of the crusts together with a fork and crimp decoratively. Trim away any remaining excess pastry.
8. Prepare the topping: mix the sugar and cinnamon. Prick the top crust with a fork in several places, and cut a small vent in the center. Brush the top lightly with water, and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. If you like, cut out shapes, such as leaves or apples, from the dough trimmings and decorate the top crust with them.
9. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden, 1 and 1/4 hours. For the Dutch Apple Pie version, remove the pie ten minutes before it’s done and pour the heavy cream through a tiny hole in the center of the top crust, then finish baking. (If you notice the crust getting too brown in the oven, put some tinfoil loosely over it.)
10. If you like, serve with a slice of cheddar on top!
Recipe from The New Basics Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.