Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trying Something New: Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust

I often talk to students in my foods class about trying something new. I tell them that if they never try anything new, they are not accomplishing very much. To help them try something new, I gave them an assignment to go to the grocery store and explore the world of cheese. They could only use natural cheeses, none of that processed stuff. These were their choices.
  • American cheese, that is, made in America
  • A non-American blue vein cheese
  • Cheese made from either goat or sheep’s milk
  • A cheese from Spain, France, Italy or Germany
  • A cheese made in Nebraska.
Since I am always telling my students to try something new, I thought I too, would give something new a try. For my first cheese, I chose Cheddar cheese. Now, I have eaten Cheddar plenty of times, so that part is not new. But I always see Cheddar cheese on top of a slice of apple pie. My chef friend says Cheddar cheese on apple pie is just like eating cheese and fruit. I have never tried it. It just sounds awful. But, I always tell the students to try something new. So for me, I am going to put Cheddar cheese in my pie crust. Sorry, but I just can’t put it on top yet. One step at a time.

I chose to use an extra sharp Cheddar cheese from Crystal Farm in Lake Mills, WI. This is one of the less costly brands of cheese, 5.19/pound. I was not about to spend too much money for cheese to go into a pie crust. I’ll eat the more expensive stuff straight up.

Cheddar cheese originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England. It is believed that Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. It has a relatively hard texture and is yellow to off-white in color. Yellow cheese is usually made by adding annatto, a seed of the achiote tree. Its flavor ranges from mild to sharp, depending on the length of aging. While Cheddar is the most popular cheese in England, it is the second most popular cheese in the US. Per capita consumption of Cheddar for Americans is about 10 pounds per year.

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

2 pounds assorted apples, about 5 medium
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Pie crust, recipe follows

1. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Place apples in a large bowl.
2. Stir together sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Stir into apples. Add lemon juice.
3. Roll out half of dough for crust and place in pie pan and add apples. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the apples or cut dough into strips and make a lattice top.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable shortening or lard
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 Tablespoons cold water

1. Sift together flour and salt. Cut fat into flour until mixture resembles small peas.
2. Stir in cheese.
3. Combine vinegar and egg. Add to flour mixture. Stir to combine. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

My Thoughts on the Pie
This would not be my favorite pie. It was an issue with the crust. It was too difficult to work with and was thick and tough. I may try it again with a different cheese crust. Normally, when I write this blog, I tell you about my successes. But everything you make cannot be a success and this was one of those things.


  1. I wanted to try this, thanks for your honesty on your thoughts thats awesome! So so right about successes sometimes we have to talk about dissappointments thanks for posting this. Great info!