My dad always said that apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze. And boy, did that cheese vary over the years! The first time my mother made this, she used Velveeta cheese (that was in the ’50s). Over the years, the cheese got progressively more sophisticated and now, a local Cheddar is my cheese of choice. Remember to bake the apple pie long enough— you don’t want the apples to be crunchy. Otherwise, why bother to make a pie? I’ve used a Pillsbury crust before, but the fresh, homemade cheese crust recipe here is best, unless you’re stressed!
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
2 pounds, or 8 large, Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch wedges
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into pats
3 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling
FOR THE PIE dough, combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and give it quick pulses to blend the ingredients, until the mixture looks crumbly (crumbles should be the size of peas). Add the cheese and pulse again until combined and the cheese is worked into the mixture and cut into small chunks. Dump the mixture out into a bowl, drizzle in 6 tablespoons of iced cold water, and mix it in with a fork until the flour is moistened and comes together as a dough. Add another tablespoon of water, if needed, to bring the dough together. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball, and flatten to a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. For the filling, combine the Granny Smith apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven. Roll out 1 disk of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Add the apples and dot with the butter. Roll out the second dough round. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie round, pressing the edges of the two crust layers to seal. Trim the crust so you are left with a 1-inch overhang. Tuck the crust underneath itself so it’s flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges decoratively. Pat the pie with the cream and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Make 5 air slits in the center of the pie. Bake until the crust is set, about 25 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake 50 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack before slicing.