After one final jam spree, I was finally able to retire my canning equipment to the basement this weekend, which means my kitchen is looking a lot more organized and inviting. The timing couldn't be more perfect because it's apple season right now, and I'm in the mood for pie.
I've heard many good things about the combination of apple pie and cheddar cheese, so I thought I'd give it a whirl myself. I made handpies with half the recipe, and used the other half for a cast-iron skillet tart. I like it both ways, but the handpies are particularly fun 'cause they're easy to decorate. And the cheese in the crust? Subtle and enjoyable.
For the Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 stick butter, chilled and sliced
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water
3 or 4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Juice from half a lemon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cold butter, diced into small pieces
1 egg yolk
Pour the flour, sugar, salt, butter and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse crumb. Add ice water slowly, one tablespoon at a time while pulsing, until the dough begins to tear away from the edges of the food processor. Press dough together and divide in half. Form each half into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and press into a disc. Refrigerate for an hour.
While the dough is refrigerating, prepare your apples, and mix in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Stir until well combined, cover, and set aside.
For Handheld Pies:
Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll out until 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a bowl, punch out holes in the dough and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Re-roll the dough and continue punching out circles until there is no dough left. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator, and repeat the process with the last disc of dough.
Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each dough circle. Using your index finger, seal the edges of the dough circles with water and press together. Using a fork, create a decorative edging over the sealed portion of the dough. Repeat this process until all of your pies are sealed and arranged on the cookie sheet with at least 1/2 an inch space between them.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Using a knife, score each pie two or three times on top. Place your cookie sheets back in the refrigerator until the oven has preheated.
To bake, place cookie sheet on middle rack and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack until room temperature.
If you want to use half of the recipe for handheld tarts, and the other half for a small rustic apple tart like I did, follow the above instructions for handheld apple pies using only one disc of dough. For the other disc, roll it out on a lightly floured surface in a large, circular shape until 1/4-inch thick. Place dough over a small cast iron skillet, making sure there is plenty of dough overhanging on the sides. Pour remaining filling into the shell and top with pats of butter (I added a few raisins here as well). Cover with foil and bake in a 450°F oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F, and bake for another 40 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool for 2-3 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart via Alexandra's Kitchen and Reclaiming Provincial.