Apple Pie with a Pecorino Crust

6 Aug

apple pie with pecorino crustOh apple pie. Its a simple simple dish, but you can screw it up in so many ways. Good apple pie is brilliant – bad apple pie, well the less said, the better. I love apple pie but I know how difficult it is to make well. Because the ingredients are so simple – a flaky pastry crust, and apples, basically, you have to really pay attention to technique and process. I have been dreaming of an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust for ages, and decided I would make one today.

I went to the market to get a few things I needed, and AngelKitten asked if I was sure I had cheddar cheese. I blithely said yes. Of course, I didnt have any. But I had bumped into Iq at the market and when I told him what I was baking, he said he thought it would be gorgeous with a pecorino crust. Well, I did have pecorino, so I made it with that! Cooking is sometimes about making do with what you have, and forgiving yourself for assuming you have what you dont!

I think this pie came out beautifully. Its sweet without being overwhelmingly so. Its crust is so gorgeously savoury. The apple interior is scented with cinnamon. It reminds me that in South Africa, we eat cheese and jam together. Sweet and salty. A perfect balance. This pie has those elements.

And thank you to Iq for the pecorino suggestion!

Pecorino Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, frozen
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening or margarine, very cold
  • 1 1/2 cups pecorino cheese grated (you can use cheddar if you are a traditionalist!)
  • 2 – 4 tbsp ice cold water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the butter into the flour, and toss gently with your hands to mix.

Cut up the margarine into tiny pieces, and toss into the flour butter mixture. Add the pecorino, and toss again. You should have a lumpy, slightly golden mixture.

Using your hands, mix in the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, to create a firm and pliable dough. You can knead this dough a few times, using the heel of your hand to smear the dough away from you (this lengthens the frozen butter bits and makes it flaky).

Wrap the dough in baking paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Apple Filling

  • 7 – 8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped – about 6 – 7 cups in total (I used Pink Ladies and Gala)
  • 2 tbsp juice (optional)
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 – 3 tbsp light brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of your apples)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

Peel, core and chop your apples and place in large bowl. Add the juice and lemon juice as you chop to ensure the apples dont brown too much.

Add the sugar, flour, all spice, cinnamon, vanilla and balsamic, and toss well to combine. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

Assembly

  • Dough
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Apple filling
  • 1 – 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 9 – 10″ pie plate, with a removable edge if you like.

Divide the dough in half, and on a floured surface, roll out one half of the dough. Put the remaining half of the dough into the fridge. Fit it into your pie plate, making sure the dough comes up over the edge. Poke holes in the dough with a fork, and bake blind (lined with greaseproof paper or aluminum foil and filled with beans or pie weights). Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the greaseproof paper and beans, and bake for a further 5 minutes until just lightly brown.

Remove the crust from the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, and brush with beaten egg.

The apples will have let go of a lot of juice in the bowl. Using a spoon (or as I do, you hands) take the apples out of the bowl, making sure to leave quite a bit of the juices behind. Mound the apples in the pie plate. Take about 2 – 3 tablespoons of the juice and pour over the top. Dot with butter if you want.

Roll out the second half of dough, and place over the pie, crimping the edges to seal. Bake in the oven (on a cookie sheet if you are worried about spillage) for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Take the pie out of the oven, and brush all over with the remainder of the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Return to the oven for 5 – 10 minutes more or until the pie is shiny, and sugar has caramelised a bit.

Take out of oven and allow to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving warm with cream.

By the way, Ezril loves the juices from the apples, mixed with some milk as a drink!

2 Responses to “Apple Pie with a Pecorino Crust”

  1. Chef Dennis August 7, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    what a great pie!! I love the idea of pecorino in the crust, I bet it was delicious!!! Welcome to food buzz, you have been buzzed!!

    • delectableblog August 7, 2010 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks Chef Dennis šŸ™‚ Foodbuzz is fun, slowly getting the hang of it šŸ™‚

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