The Most American Pie: Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie

This week we realized that I have yet to make a pie for my roommates so naturally they insisted I make them one (actually I just offered and they were happy to be the recipients of it).  So, I went hunting for recipes and was trying to find them a funky or gourmet recipe that was peculiar combination of fancy ingredients and they ended up falling in love with the idea of cheddar cheese apple pie. Although I thought it wasn’t as bizarre as I was hoping, I decided to make it for them since they seemed to be so excited by the idea.
I ended up making the horrible decision to brush the top with the left over sugar coating for the filling and the crust got a little burnt. BUT a few scrapes of a sharp knife later and problem solved.
To be perfectly honest, I cannot decide if I liked the finished product! My taste buds were so conflicted with the flavors of the slice of pie that I just could not decide if I liked the combination or not! It kind of made the house smell like cheeze-its and my roommates ended up saying they loved it so I’m happy with that.

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The All American Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie

For pastry:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (trans fat free), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon milk

For filling:

1 1/2 pound Gala apples (3 medium)
1 1/2 pound Granny Smith apples (3 medium)
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Stir together flour, salt, and cheese in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Add butter and shortening and blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 6 tablespoon ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful: If dough doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.
Turn out dough onto a work surface and divide in half, then form each half into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Put a foil-lined large baking sheet in middle of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Peel and core apples, then slice 1/4 inch thick. Toss apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt until evenly coated.
Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining disk chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round.
Transfer filling to shell. Dot with butter, then cover with pastry round. Trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press edges together to seal, then fold under. Lightly brush top crust with milk (don’t brush it with left over sugar filling stuff like we did accidentally), then cut 5 (1-inch-long) vents or cut top crust into strips and basket weave the top (like we did).
Bake on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes more. Cool to warm or room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (Or you could just leave it for 20 minutes, cut, serve with ice cream, and devour like we did!).

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