Comfort Me with Apple Pie: North vs. South
I’m a Southern Girl at heart. I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, watching horse races at Keenland on the weekends and playing tag in warm summer nights in the meadow behind our house. In middle school I moved to Atlanta, where the South really took hold of me. Sweet tea flowed freely on screened-in porches and I attended Cotillion where I learned to foxtrot and sit with my ankles crossed in preparation for Debutante. However, I always felt some part of me rebelling, whispering “this isn’t where you belong.” While my brother and sister adopted Southern twangs I refused to so much as say “y’all.” The South was beautiful, it was charming, it was special, but it wasn’t me.
So when I applied to college, I didn’t look anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line. I ended up at Williams College, a tiny liberal arts school in the heart of the Berkshires in north-west Massachusetts. There were things I loved. I loved the golden leaves, the apple cider donuts, and the quaint dairy farms. But, to my surprise more than anyone’s, my heart began to ache for the South. I missed the palpable warmth and charm of my home.
When I was thinking of a “Comfort Desserts” piece for kimsunee.com, I couldn’t choose which was more comforting: the South I grew up in, or the rural North I had come to cherish. So I decided to make a dessert for both—a dessert that embodied the place I loved. And, as it’s October, the desserts would feature apples, one thing that are truly unbeatable up here in Yankee territory. A few weekends ago I went apple-picking at a tiny orchard a few miles into Vermont and emerged with 15 pounds of apples and inspiration aplenty. I hope these desserts give you as much comfort this fall as they gave me and my very happy taste-testing roommates.
Editor’s Note: This is a feature by Catherine Lamb, a student of food, fun, and all things baked. Catherine is currently a senior at Williams College studying art history, french, and the perils of dorm cooking. She spent a year in France studying at University in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, but is happy to be home.
Comfort Me with Apple Pie (and Cheddar crust)
Yield: 8 to 10 | Total time: 1 hour 00 min
"I was introduced to Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust while working in the bakery at my college, and it’s a combination I can’t get enough of. The rich saltiness of the Cheddar (use sharp!) is a great contrast to the soft, sweet apple filling. I left out the typical apple pie spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but you could always include them if you feel the need."--Catherine Lamb
Cheddar Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups Cheddar cheese (if you want more of a cheese flavor, you could also try a sharper cheese like asiago)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Apple Pie Filling
6 apples (3 granny smith, 3 honeycrisp), cored, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Flour a clean work surface. Unwrap one piece of dough (if the two pieces look uneven, go for the smaller one) and place dough on work surface and lightly flour top of dough. Start rolling dough by pressing down lightly with the pin and moving it from the center out. Roll a few times in one direction, lift it up and rotate it a quarter-turn. And that’s what you’re going to continue to do: Roll a couple of times, lift the dough and rotate it. Re-flour work surface and the top of dough, as needed. If at any point the dough starts to get sticky or soft, it’s warming up and will only become more difficult to work with; transfer it back to the fridge for a few minutes to let it cool down, then resume your rolling process.
Once your dough is a 12- to 13-inch circle, transfer pie dough to a standard pie dish by folding it gently into quarters (making no creases), arranging the folded corner into one quadrant of the bottom of your pie dish and gently unfolding it to fit over the base. Trim the overhang to one inch. Scoop Apple Pie Filling, including any juices, into bottom pie dough. Roll out top pie dough using the same procedure, until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Cut some decorative vents in the pie lid before baking. Brush with egg, cream or water and sprinkle with sugar. Put pie in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool before slicing!
Date Published: November 22, 2012
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.
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