Leatherstocking Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese

“A pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze”—or so the saying goes in the Leatherstocking district of New York state. This region, named for deerskin pants worn by early settlers, was made famous by James Fennimore Cooper’s The Last of The Mohicans (which was one of his Leatherstocking Tales).

Servings: 8-12

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Crust:
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • 6 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling:
  • 2 pounds golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the vinegar and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork until a loose dough forms. Knead the dough in the bowl 1-2 times until it just comes together; press it into a 4-inch wide disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray (do not use non-stick spray on a non-stick pie pan).
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough from center to edge into a 13-inch circle. Gently lift the dough and place in prepared pan. Roll the remaining portion of dough from center to edge into a 12-inch circle.
  4. To make the filling: Combine the apples in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour sugar mixture and vanilla extract over the apples; toss well to coat. Transfer the filling to the dough-lined pie pan. Sprinkle the cheese over the apples. Place second dough circle over the filling, trimming excess to 3/4-inch below the edge of the pan. Crimp the edges of the dough together decoratively. Lightly brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. With the tip of a knife cut three 2-inch long slits near the center of the pie to allow steam to escape during baking.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes; cover with foil to prevent overbrowning and bake until the filling is bubbling and the apples are very tender, about another 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.