With the holidays rapidly approaching, planning our Thanksgiving menu is a top priority. We want the traditional foods, maybe a touch of something new, and plenty of desserts. And more often than not, Apple Pie is on the menu!
Apple Pie is wonderful in so many ways. Not only is it a basic American comfort food, but the aroma of one baking will make you weak in the knees. A slice still warm from the oven is enough to sooth stress, and it is an easy thing to transport to any covered-dish dinner or on a picnic.
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Where to Start
When making an apple pie, you will get more flavor if you choose a variety of apples. You want the type that is firm, juicy as has a sweet/tart flavor. Some apples, such as the Red Delicious, are softer and can become mushy when baked. A firmer apple holds its shape better.
These are some of the best apples for baking pies:
- Granny Smith (the most traditional of baking apples)
You can’t always find the varieties you want and need in the grocery store. If you have space available, you may want to consider growing your own apples.
But if you don’t have an orchard, you may also find the best apple pie apples at your local farmers market. Be sure to buy them in bulk. This way you can make your own apple pie filling, or simply preserve apple slices to use for pies, breads, pastries, and more.
How to Eat an Apple Pie
The traditional way to eat it is with a piece of melted cheddar cheese on top and side-dressed with vanilla ice cream. But Aunt Dot took at least one tradition a step further. Instead of adding a slice of cheese on the top, she added it into the pie crust!
This makes the crust a bit richer, as well as adding flavor to the pie itself. This same crust can also be used for other fruit pie recipes, and quiche.
This was one of my Aunt Dot’s recipes. She was probably best known for her skills in the kitchen. Between her Hot Rolls and this Apple Pie with Cheese Crust, no one ever turned down an invitation to ‘Come Eat’!
For a delicious holiday dessert, this is the perfect pie to make. And if you know you are going to need more than one, go ahead and make up several. These freeze well. You can either put them in the freezer after assembly but before baking, or bake and cool it completely before freezing.
And so you can have it handy while you are working, just download the recipe HERE!
Apple Pie with Cheese Crust
2-1/2 cups flour
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1-1/3 c. Lard (or shortening)
1 to 1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
With a fork, blend together flour, sugar and salt. Blend in cheese. With two knives, a pastry cutter or your (clean) fingers, blend in the Crisco until incorporated and feels a bit grainy. Add enough ice water to hold dough together. Divide dough in half. On a floured board, roll out one half into a circle that will fit an 8” or 9” pie plate, with enough extra to leave a bit hanging off the sides. Place the round in your pie pan.
1 quart Sliced Apples (I use home-preserved apple slices)
1 t. Cinnamon
½ t. Nutmeg
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 T. Flour
Butter (homemade is best!)
Directions for an Apple Pie with Cheese Crust:
Mix apples, sugars, flour and spices in a large bowl. Add filling to pie shell and dot with butter.
To make a lattice top crust, roll out the remaining half of pie crust dough into a rectangle. Cut strips approximately ¼” to ½” in length. Lay one strip in the middle of the pie.
Add a second strip across that one in the middle, forming a ‘plus’ sign. Working gently, weave additional strips out from the middle until the top is completely covered, using the traditional ‘over / under’ pattern.
Using a fork or a pastry wheel decorator, join the edges together.
Cover the edges of the crust with a crust shield or strips of tin foil to prevent over-browning. Bake pie at 350 degrees until golden brown and filling is set, approximately 30 – 45 minutes. Ten minutes before the pie is completely done, remove the crust shield or tin foil and allow to finish baking.
Making Apple Pies even ‘Sweeter’
Want to take this recipe to the next level? Hand pies are a great way to make individual servings. They are perfect to make ahead and freeze for the perfect after-school snack, or dinner later in the week.
Need a ‘sweet’ item for a Buffet? Apple Hand Pies will be more than welcome! And if you are having friends over for knitting or other reasons, you just can’t go wrong having a plate of these to serve with coffee!
Just roll out your dough and cut it into 6′ circles. Using a Dough Press, lay the dough in the center. Add approximately 1 Tablespoon of filling; fold and press. Cut three small slits in the top as steam vents.
Place your pies on an ungreased cookie sheet approximately 2″ apart. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving. (Do not fry these pies. This pie crust is not designed for fried pies and will fall apart in the hot grease!)
Whether it is slices of Apple Pie topped with a scoop of ice cream for dessert, or Hand Pies as snacks or an offering for a Pot Luck, making these will make you the most popular person at the dinner table.
Want more great southern family-style recipes? Get your copy of The Farm Wife Cookbook and start cooking!