Fall is officially in full swing. This past weekend Tom and I went upstate to Warwick, NY with a few friends for their annual apple festival. Warwick is a quaint town that gets overrun once a year by city dwellers looking to get in on the autumn festivity. My first year in NYC I happened upon the warwick valley winery and it’s become a personal tradition to go wine tasting and apple picking there every fall.
With an abundance of apples and a light daytime work week, I set out to make a personal sized apple pie. I’m always a sucker for cheddar cheese on top of my apple pie so I played around with the concept of putting the cheese *inside* the crust and fell in love with the results. The crust tastes like one of those cheese straws that you would eat at a southern baby shower. My favorite part of the recipe is that you can save the dough for a few days in the refrigerator if you don’t use it all in one day….meaning you can have your own pie multiple times in a week. If your nice you can share but it’s almost too tasty to share!
Personal Apple Pies with Cheddar Cheese Crust
—makes 3 personal sized pies
For the crust:
1 stick butter, extra cold
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white sugar
For the filling:
2 large apples, diced into tiny matchstick sized pieces
1 small lemon
2 tbs white sugar
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs flour
1 tbs pumpkin pie spices
Make the dough:
In a food processor pulse shredded cheddar cheese until it resembles grated cheese. Using shredded cheese is a good way to cut down costs because in my neighborhood grated is more than double the price. Set aside cheese in the refrigerator so it stays cold while you prep the rest of the dough. Cut 7 tbs of the stick of butter into small pieces and place on a plate in the freezer. Save the remaining tbs for later. Fill a cup with water and ice- you’ll need this nearby as you assemble the dough.
In the food processor pulse together salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, and flour until combined. Working in batches pulse pieces of cold butter into the flour mixture. They should practically disappear to create a mixture the consistency of damp sand. After all of the butter has been pulsed into the mixture continue pulsing and add the ‘grated’ cheddar cheese. Slowly add in ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to come together. This step really depends on how humid the kitchen is, what the weather is like, etc. I’ve used as little as 1 tbs and as much as 4 tbs when making dough. It’s important not to over mix in this step so stop right after it comes together. Once the dough forms, remove from food processor and shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the filling:
In a medium bowl squeeze out the juice from one lemon. Toss in apples, brown sugar, white sugar, and spices. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the crusts.
Assemble the pie:
After dough has rested, roll it out in between two pieces of plastic wrap. This is a good trick to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. My personal pie pans are about 5 inches wide so I rolled it out to be about 1/8 of an inch thick and cut it in two pieces with enough dough to cover each one. Press the dough into the pan and cut around the edges to remove excess. You can save the excess, roll it out again, and use it to decorate the top of your pie. The final step before filling each pie with apples is to prick the entire crust with a fork to avoid bubbles. Fill each pie with apple filling, top with a few pats if the remaining tbs of butter, and bake on 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Happy fall adventuring!