Can I share a secret with you? I’ve never made a pie crust from scratch. Never. I think I’ve had a fear of it similar to my previous fear of yeast. I think my fear might stem from the fact that it took my mom a few attempts to learn how to make pie crust like my grandma’s. Mom still gets teased about it to this day. Though, I will say, at this point, my mom’s pie dough is pure perfection and I would happily eat any pie she prepared.
Though technically not a pie, I can officially say I conquered my fear with this fabulous crostata. And what better way to do it than a classic apple filling. There is something quintessentially American about pie, especially apple pie. With Independence Day just around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect treat for an impromptu porch party. Don’t you think?
My favorite part about this particular crostata is the cheddar crust. Apples and cheese are a match made in heaven. Plus, cheese is an American favorite. Cheese and apple pie are so deeply ingrained in our culture that some people can’t picture life without them! Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get what I mean. Anyway, cheese and apple pie are the perfect combination for a Fourth of July celebration. Plus, this recipe is as easy as … well … pie!
This recipe comes from Martha Stewart. (Thanks, Martha!) You can check it out here. I adapted it slightly to suit my needs. The pie dough comes together in a food processor, which makes it almost foolproof. I also opted to use Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese because I wanted to be able to see specks of orange in the crust. Plus, this particular cheese is so amazingly rich, creamy, and delicious – it was a perfect addition.
I know that some of you may be thinking that cheese is a weird addition to pie, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. It’s pretty subtle, but it adds a really unique depth of flavor to the dessert. It’s quite wonderful. And to make things even better, your guests will think you are pretty fancy for having cheese baked into your homemade crust.
All right, enough chit chat, time to bake!
All-American Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust
Here’s what you’ll need:
For The Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for surface
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1 cup shredded Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
For The Filling
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot preserves, warmed
Let’s get baking!
Pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle 1/4 cup water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse. (I ended up using almost ½ cup of the water) Add cheese; pulse until combined.
Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to overnight. (You can freeze your other disk of dough for up to one month.) Roll out dough to a 13-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Toss together apples, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread filling over dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold edges in to form a crust; brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar (I didn’t have sanding sugar, so I just used standard sugar. I also sprinkle a little cinnamon on the top of the crostata.)
Refrigerate until edges are firm, about 30 minutes. Bake crostata until apples are tender and crust is golden, about 1 hour 20 minutes. (Mine baked for about 1 hour. I also covered it with a piece of aluminum foil about 40 minutes into the baking to prevent any burning.) Let cool slightly. Brush apples with apricot preserves.
That’s it! As you can see, the recipe is fairly straightforward and simple. Be sure to factor in your dough cooling times. They may seem silly, but they are important. While, I’m no pie crust expert, I think my mom would be proud of how well I did on my first attempt.
Now, I’m off to dig into this new American classic! What do you think of crostata? Will you be adding some cheddar to your piecrust?