You know it’s going to be good when you and Dr B have to sit down and map out the plan for your dad’s birthday dessert. As a born and raised Canadian boy he loves his fruit pies. He and his siblings are big believers in the saying “An apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.” As a child I could never understand the appeal but over the years I have become a little more adventurous with my food combinations so was willing to give it a chance. The sweet and savoury combination is always a good idea.
Please excuse the poor lighting for the finished product. Right as we sat down to dinner at Dad’s party the power went out. Candles and torch/flashlights would have to do. Good thing poor lighting did nothing to the taste of this creation.
Sharp cheddar cheese pastry, creamy cinnamon and vanilla cheesecake and spicy, sweet apple slices made for one happy birthday boy.
I know that this probably doesn’t sound like everyone’s cup of tea but it actually so worth trying. One day when you wake up ready to take on a crazy baking project this is definitely the one you have to try. You will enjoy getting people to sit down and sample your creation and see the look of surprise on their face as they too realise that an apple pie with out cheese (and cheesecake!) is like a kiss without a squeeze.
I won’t lie this is a little labour intensive but it is achievable in an afternoon. You can simplify by not making a crazy lattice top to the pie.
Experimental baking, do it.
Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Apple Pie with a Cheddar Cheese Crust
A PhD Baker Original
Makes a 20cm round pie
Cheddar Cheese Rough Puff Pastry
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
280 g butter
1/3 cup cold water
50 g sharp cheddar cheese
Apple Pie Filling
3 apples (quarted, cored and thinly sliced)
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp giner
2 tsp lemon juice
Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
500g cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. To make the rough puff pastry cut the butter into the flour and salt until well combined (use a pastry cutter or food processor) the crumbs should come together in pea sized clumps. Add the cold water and stir to combine. The dough should form a rough ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
2. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry into a 30 x 20 cm rectangle and sprinkle with the grated cheddar cheese. Fold up like a letter and roll out to another 30 x 20 cm rectangle. Repeat the folding and rolling process 5 more times, then wrap the pastry in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. While the pastry rests prepare your apple pie filling. Quarter and core the apples and cut into thin slices. You can peel if you wish but I never do. Mix the sliced apples with the rest of the pie ingredients and allow to macerate in the juices for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place the apple pie mixture in a baking dish and cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. When cooked set aside to cool (leave covered).
5. Leave the oven on and grease the base and sides of a 20 cm round spring form pan. Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut 2/3rds off and return the last 1/3 to the fridge. Roll out into a circle big enough to line the base and sides of the pan. (keep any extra pastry for patching) Press gently all the way around and use a fork to pierce the base all over. Cut a large round piece of baking paper and cover the pastry. Fill the spring form as full as you can with pie weights, dry rice or dry beans (to weigh the pastry down while you blind bake.
6. Bake the pastry for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven. Carefully remove the baking paper and baking weights and return the pan to the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it shrinks down the sides of the pan a little, you need to patch up the sides to get the pastry top to stick. Leave the oven on. Allow the par cooked pie crust to cool.
7. To make the cheesecake beat the softened cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer till well combined. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the vanilla bean/extract and cinnamon and mix to combine. Pour the cheesecake into the par baked pie crust.
8. Roll out a thin layer of pastry to come up the sides of the pan (so that the apple pie doesn’t leak out the sides and to stick the pastry top to). Fill the pan with the cooled apple pie mixture and use the remaining 1/3 of the pasty to cover the top of the pie (lattice or just a normal covered pie, you will have enough pastry for either). Brush the pastry with an egg wash if desired or just a little milk.
9. Bake the pie at 180 °C for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 140 °C for 30 minutes. If the pastry top looks a little blonde still wrap some tin foil around the base and sides of the pan and turn the oven up to 200 °C for 5-10 minutes. (The butter and cheese can cause some drips while baking, it is best to place a baking tray under the pie while it bakes so you don’t end up needing to clean your oven afterwards.)
10. Once the pastry looks cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Best served cold.
This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days but the pastry is best the day or day after it is cooked.