I've talked about using hand-picked fruit in several other posts, and I was able to dot it here. Except I didn't actually pick the apples myself. But I did go to an orchard to get them and it was so much fun! The crust had extra-sharp cheddar mixed into it, and then the top crust had grated cheddar sprinkled onto it and kind of pressed into the dough. When I put the pie together, I placed the cheese-side down so that the cheese would melt into the apples. Nummy!!!
After I formed the edge, I cut vents in the top and I suddenly had an American icon on my hands.
It baked so happily in the oven and I could tell that it was going to be an awesome pie. When I opened the oven door to pull it out, I recalled with joy my conversation with Listle about her apple pie, when she expressed how great it was to see this beautiful pie emerging from the oven, knowing that she had made it herself, and as I let those thoughts dance around my head, this happened:
Yeah, that's right, I dropped it. I dropped my beautiful American icon. I may have well thrown up on the home plate of a baseball game while flipping off my grandma because I ruined my personal slice of Americana. Luckily, as I sat on the floor and cried with laughter, my friends came to save the pie as much as possible.
We were able to pick up hot apple slices and cheesy spicy crust with our fingers, and they were quite good. I'm not sure if this is what Laura Ingalls Wilder had in mind when she wrote about my childhood food obsession, but this oven pie is my best offer.
Cheese-Straw Apple Pie
from Apple Pie: An American Story by John T. Edge
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons cold shortening, cut into pieces
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder (I used chili powder for lack of cayenne)
2 1/3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons ice water
Place butter and shortening in the freezer for an hour before using. Pulse flour, salt, and cayenne in food processor. Remove the lid and add the butter and shortening into the mixture. Pulse the machine 4 times to cut in the butter. Add 1 1/3 cups of cheese and pulse four more times. Sprinkle half the water over the mixture and pulse 5 or 6 more times. Add the rest of the water and pulse 5 or 6 more times, until the pastry looks like very course crumbs. Form the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic and press into discs. Refridgerate for three hours.
5 large, tart apples
1/2 large lemon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into six parts
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice the apples. In a bowl, mix all the filling ingredients except the butter with your hands. Set aside and retreive the pie crusts from the refridgerator.
Roll the dough into two circles that are 2-3 inches larger in diameter than the pie plate. Press the bottom crust into the plate, then mound the apple mixture until they fill the crust and dome slightly. Scatter the butter over the mound. Sprinkle the remaining cheese onto the top crust. With a rolling pin, roll lightly to press the cheese into the dough. Place the crust, cheese-side down, on top of the apples. Crimp the edges and vent the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 50 minutes.