Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts

Posted on 03/15/2011 by layers_of_eli
So, the whole slice-of-apple-pie-topped-with-a-slice-of-cheese idea didn't reach my delicate Southern ears until a few years ago. When I finally tried the combo, I was pleasantly surprised. Still, I find that many of my Southern cohorts have never heard of the pie and cheese pairing and are a bit skeptical.

Listen, if you haven't tried it, you're just going to have to trust me: it's gooood. And even better are these cute little mini pies with sweet apple filling and a buttery cheddar crust. They're one of my new favorite desserts!

What about you? Did you grow up eating apple pie topped with cheddar cheese, or is this the first you've heard of it?

Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts

Recipe by: Adapted from my own pie crust and Betty Crocker's filling
Yield: 4 cupcake-sized apple pies and 10-12 mini apple-pies

Crust Ingredients:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
3/4 cup cold lard (non-hydrogenated if available)*
3/4 cup cold butter, chopped
6-8 tablespoons cold water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1/4 cup white sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon for sprinkling
*you can substitute vegetable shortening here if you wish, but I highly recommend the lard!

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
4 cups mixed apples, peeled and chopped (4 medium -- I used Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious)
1 tablespoon butter

Directions: Pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add scoops of lard and pulse into the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in chunks of butter and cheese and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add minimum amount of water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another 2 tablespoons of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes while preparing your filling.

Prepare filling: Mix all ingredients together except for butter.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Use cupcake pans, mini-cupcake pans or both for your pies, as desired. After crust has chilled, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it's relatively thin -- a little thinner than 1/4 inch. Pull the parchment paper off the dough every now and then (flipping to do this on both sides) to ensure your dough isn't sticking. Use a big round cookie cutter or a knife to cut out a piece of dough about 2 inches larger around than your cupcake wells (or about 1 inch larger around than your mini-cupcake wells). Fit this dough down into a well as a bottom crust. Fill it with filling, top it with a few bits of butter, and use another circle of dough to form the top crust. Crimp the edges (careful not to make your crimping too elaborate -- if your edge is too big, your pies can be top-heavy and pull apart. You may just want to use a fork to create decorative edges instead of traditional "crimping.") Repeat this process until all of your mini pies are ready for the oven. Brush them all with egg wash and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top.

Bake mini pies at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (for cupcake-sized) or 10 minutes (for mini-cupcake sized). Turn temperature down to 375 degrees F, open then oven to rotate your pans and cool it off for a few seconds, and turn temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake cupcake-size pies for 7-9 minutes longer, and mini-cupcake sized pies for 6-7 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let pies cool completely in the pan -- then gently "twist" the pies in their wells to be sure they aren't sticking and pull them out. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

To read about how I used to torment my little brother, to hear more carrying-on about apple pies and cheddar cheese and how good they are together and so on and so forth, and to see more photos, please head over to Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, cooking, bakebakebake
kimberly_2002 16th-Mar-2011 12:40 am (UTC)
I officially love you. Apple pie with a slice of cheese on the top is one of my FAVORITES, and this is less messy :)
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Aw, I feel officially loved :) Thanks!
rowangolightly 16th-Mar-2011 12:43 am (UTC)
Oh. My. I must make these sometime as I'm drooling and I just finished supper and I'm full.

I have heard of apple pie and cheddar cheese but my background is so varied that I'm not sure where I came by the knowledge. I was born in Philadelphia, lived in Michigan and Iowa as a child; high school in Chicago and Independence, MO. Then I just moved back to the KC area after 6 years of living in Oklahoma (SO glad to be back!) where I was immursed in southern cooking.

But yes, good doesn't begin to cover the combination.
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 03:40 am (UTC)
You are a culinary hodgepodge for sure! But that's the way to do it -- take in influences from as many places as possible :)
rowangolightly 16th-Mar-2011 04:17 am (UTC)
Absolutely! And many thanks for all your good inspiration.
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 04:18 am (UTC)
aw, ditto to you! :)
woobeans 16th-Mar-2011 04:23 am (UTC)
i only heard about it a few years ago after i served some apple pie to a friend and she said, "apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze!"

we (west coast canadians) all looked at her like she was nuts. but then we tried it and it was weird, but good. :)
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 04:27 am (UTC)
haha, weird but good was my first impression, too! And now I totally get the kiss/hug without a squeeze comment, because I need that sharp bite!
aimealamort 16th-Mar-2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
I MUST HAVE THESE. Our family staple is homemade apple pie, with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. If there isn't cheese, you don't eat the pie.
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
I know how you feel -- now apple pie seems like it's missing something without it!
bluefalconchick 16th-Mar-2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Actually-I hate admitting it, but as a southerner I must.....I tried this several years ago with a friend who has family in Michigan (because apparently, this is how they eat apple pie), and IT WAS HORRIBLE. I didn't care for the taste, nor did I care for the texture of the cheese combined with the pie. What I had was a simple apple pie-home made...with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese melted on top of it. We cut the pie, placed the cheese on top, and popped it into the toaster oven JUST long enough to let the cheese melt.

I don't know if we were doing something wrong, or if I'm just TOO southern for this to appeal to me-Kyle LOVED it. Said it tasted just like when his grandma used to make it.

Me on the other hand? If I'm ever gonna add something to my apple pie that isn't pure vanilla ice cream, it better be a slight spread of peanut butter on the top....YUMMY.
layers_of_eli 16th-Mar-2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it makes a difference with the taste, though it might change the texture: I've never melted it on top. I eat a slice with the pie like you might eat a slice of cheddar with a slice of apple.

That being said, it's one of those things that's distinctive, so some folks are bound to not care for it, I think! I'm Southern myself and love it, but maybe there's a little New England in me somewhere. haha.
lunameth 17th-Mar-2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Not heard of pie with cheese on it, but a Ploughman's platter in England will always have apple and cheese on it (plus MEAT), and a regular party food staple is chunks of pineapple and cheese on a stick (which is SO GOOD). However, I've never tried apple and cheese *warm*. Does it being warm affect the taste completely, I wonder... Very intrigued!
layers_of_eli 17th-Mar-2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
When I eat a slice of pie with a slice of cheese, the pie is warm but the cheese is cold. So this is a whole different experience temperature wise than even that -- but I love it!! The cheesy crust is so, so delicious. Hope you love it too!
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