Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mini Cheddar Apple Pies

  • pie crust dough (homemade or purchased)
  • 4 Tbsp grated sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 large apple
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.  Cut two circles of crust for the bottom of the pies (see notes, below).  Press into bottom and up sides of two mini pie pans or tart dishes.  Sprinkle 2 Tbsp cheese over the bottom of each crust. 
2.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.  Peel and slice apple into small pieces, coat apple pieces with sugar and flour mixture.  Place seasoned apple pieces into crusts, layering them well above the top level of the pie pan (apples will sink during baking due to water loss).
3.  Cut circles for top crusts or strips if a lattice top is desired.  If using a circular top crust, use a sharp knife to cut slits in several places.  Crimp edges of crusts together with the tines of a fork or with fingers.  Sprinkle top with a small amount of additional sugar. 
4.  Place pans on a baking sheet for easier handling and bake at 425°F for 16-18 minutes.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Robyn's notes: I know some people traditionally enjoy apple pie with a thick slice of Cheddar cheese alongside, though I was raised on French apple pie a la mode instead.  I thought incorporating the cheese into the pie itself might make for a nice flavour combination, and knew I would splurge on really good cheese for the purpose.  The cheese I got was Kerrygold Reserve, which is aged 2 years, but I didn't realize until I got home that I had grabbed the version that's aged with Irish Whiskey.  The taste of the whiskey is quite strong, and made the first pie attempt into more of a Drunken Apple Pie.  Still tasty.  I used a Gala apple, other good choices are Red or Golden Delicious.  Might be 4 stars with a less whiskey-flavoured cheese, and/or with homemade crust.

About the crust: a homemade crust recipe is fantastic, or just use a pre-made crust from the market.  Because this was an early test version of the recipe, I used a pre-made.  The first test I made just one mini pie, rolled the leftover crust up in plastic wrap, and refrigerated it.  For that pie I used one of my mini pie pans, which has relatively steep sides.  I placed it upside down gently on the unrolled crust, and cut a circle about one inch away from the edge of it all the way around.  For the top crust, I cut another circle just at the edges.  Because of the size of my mini pie pans, I had to fudge this process, and couldn't really get both circles out of one unrolled pie crust.  This is where homemade dough would be best, as it could be re-rolled to accommodate the second circle instead of having to be cut from the same layout.  For the second test pie, I used one of my mini tart pans, again cutting about an inch away all the way around, but I did (as seen above) a lattice top, in order to make the dough go farther.  Because I still had leftover dough from the first pie, I ended up having about a 6" diameter circle of dough left after completing the second pie.  Since I made the two test pies on different days, I was using different apples and had some apple leftover.  I dipped those apple slices into the leftover filling mixture from this recipe, grated some Edam cheese over half the dough circle, topped it with the seasoned apples, sprinkled more grated Edam on top, folded the dough over, pinched it shut, and made it a turnover.  It went onto a square of parchment paper and into the oven at the same time, on the same baking sheet, same temperature, as the pie.  Not the prettiest turnover in the world, but tasty.
*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often