Whether you want to try your hand at Apple Pie or Chicken Fat and Pea Pie, How to Build a Better Pie (Quarry Books, 2012) by Millicent Souris provides the tips for flaky crusts, toppers and all things in between. Learn the skills, practice the techniques, master the recipes and build yourself a better pie. Find a winning combination of flavors when you make this Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust Recipe for an apple pie. The following recipe is excerpted from Chapter 2, “Crusts.”
This is an excellent crust for apple pie. Apple pie and Cheddar cheese may surprise some as an excellent pairing, but it is terrific and warms the depths. The hot cheese activates the salivary glands when the pie gets pulled from the oven, and its scent is beyond enticing. The sharper the Cheddar cheese, the more presence it will have in the crust.
2 1/4 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons kosher (18 g) salt
2 teaspoons (8 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) (168 g) cold unsalted butter (12 tablespoons fat)
1/2 cup (60 g) grated or thinly cut cold sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (120 ml) strained ice water plus 2 or 3 tablespoons (28 or 45 ml)
Click through the Image Gallery for step-by-step instructions on how to make this Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust.
1. Choose a good-size bowl, one where both of your hands can fit in and work. Measure your dry ingredients and mix them together in the bowl. Cut your cold butter into 1/4-inch (6 mm) pieces. It is very important that your butter is cold; its ability to maintain the integrity of its shape is what lends flakiness to the crust. You can freeze it, but I find refrigerated butter to be quite sufficient.
2. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients by pinching each piece. When you incorporate the butter, it is meant to keep its shape—you’re just introducing the two. You don’t want your butter to get warm with the flour or create tiny little butter pebbles. The goal is for your fat to have presence in the crust.
3. Scatter the shredded cheese over the ingredients.
4. Quickly toss the cheese through the butter and flour. Make sure to get everything at the bottom of the bowl into the game.
5. Add the 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the strained ice water along the outside of the crust. Mix quickly with a fork. Add the remaining ice water and mix with the fork or your hands.
6. When mixing the ingredients, make sure all the little bits on the bottom of the bowl are incorporated. Separate the crust into two equal-size balls, and flatten them into disks. If they won’t hold in the center, sprinkle a bit of water on the crust. If they feel a bit wet, sprinkle a bit of flour on the crust.
Tip: The cheese adds another element of fat to this crust, so you may not need as much water. Don’t just pour the water in the same spot on the ingredients; you have to scatter it about. If the crust feels really wet just sprinkle a bit of flour.
Check out more of these delicious recipes from How to Build a Better Pie.
Reprinted with permission from How to Build a Better Pie, by Millicent Souris, published by Quarry Books, 2012.
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