Apple-Pear pie with Cheddar Crust – serves 8

5 10 2005

Recipe adapted from Pie, by Ken Haedrich

INGREDIENTS
1 recipe Cheddar Cheese Pie Pastry, Double Crust (see below)

Filling
– 4 cups cored, sliced apples (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Northern Spy all work well)
– 3 cups cored and sliced ripe fresh pears
– 1/3 cup sugar1
– 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
– Pinch of salt
– 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

METHOD
1. Prepare pastry and refrigerate about 1 hour.
2. On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the larger portion of the pastry into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert pastry over a 9-1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and let the overhang drape over the edge. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3. Combine apples, pears, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Toss to mix, then set aside for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.
4. Mix remaining sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the fruit and toss well. Stir in the lemon juice.
5. On another sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the other half of the pastry into an 11 1/2-inch circle. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth the top with your hands. Dot the filling with the butter. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell. Invert the pastry over the filling, center, and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Trim pastry with scissors or a paring knife, leaving an even 1/2-inch overhang all around, then sculpt the overhand in to an upstanding ridge. Poke several steam vents in the top crust with a fork of paring knife. Put a coupe of vents near the edge of the crust so you can check the juices there later.
6. Place pie on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and rotate the pie 180 degrees, sot that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Just in case, slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any drips. Bake until the top is dark golden brown and any juices visible at the steam vents bubble thickly, 35 to 40 minutes.
7. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cook briefly before serving.

Cheddar Cheese Pie Pastry, Double Crust
INGREDIENTS
– 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 stick (1/3 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
– 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
– 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1/2 cup cold water

METHOD
1. Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse several times to mix. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut it in. Fluff mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl. Scatter the shortening over the flour and puse 3 or 4 times. Add 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese and pulse 3 or 4 times more.
2. Drizzle half the water over the flour mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times. Fluff mixture again and sprinkle on remaining water. Pulse 5 or 6 times more, until the dough starts to form clumps. Overall, it will look like coarse crumbs. Dump contents of processor into a large bowl. Test the pastry by squeezing some of it between your fingers. If it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon of so of cold water over the pastry and work it in with your fingertips.
3. Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other (this will be your bottom crust). Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten into 3/4-inch-thick discs on a floured working surface. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight before rolling.

Simple Solution:
Apple pie is one of the most homey and inviting things about autumn: nothing smells more delicious as it bakes, or tastes as simply sweet and luscious. This version–with the addition of some tender pears and a flaky, toothsome cheddar crust–is a glorious tribute to the euphoria of Fall.


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