Fall brings a bounty of fantastic seasonal fruits and vegetables that I crave the second the temperature drops. I love cooking this time of year: the bold spices, rich flavors, and hearty dishes you’re automatically entitled to eat the moment it drops below fifty- five degrees. One recipe that’s ingrained into my memory is my grandmother’s apple pie. Years of peeling apples and mixing cinnamon- sugar to help my mother prepare holiday feasts have made me unwittingly commit this gem to muscle memory. However, now that I’m old enough to have my own spice cabinet, I’ve grown curious.. and bored. How many plain old delicious apple pies can one eat in their lifetime? Sorry grandma, it’s time to experiment.
Enter Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a domestic bandage- wrapped cheddar hailing from the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. The milk for this cheese is singularly sourced from a longtime member of the famous Cabot Cooperative, the Kempton Farm in Peacham, Vermont. Unlike Cabot’s popular block cheddars, this pasteurized cheddar is matured in a style the English are infamous for. Once unmolded, the wheels are wrapped in muslin and rubbed down in lard. Each wheel undergoes a tedious and incredibly careful aging process within the Cellars of Jasper Hill for ten to fifteen months. This process yields a truly complex cheddar: grassy, some what nutty, with notes of caramel. This cheese has become a staple at my house- perfect for company or scrambled into eggs. I most recently melted it atop some homemade chili.
Cheddar and apples are a classic pairing, and after a day trip apple picking, my kitchen was bursting with gorgeous, freshly picked fruit. I had heard rumors of a cheddar crusted apple pie- so I went for it. I tweaked some spices to play with the savory qualities of the crust and I was pleasantly surprised with the results: a slightly savory but still sweet, classic apple pie. This pie is still fantastic for desert- if you want to really send it over the edge, drizzle some La Salamandra Dulce de Leche atop a still warm slice.
Cabot Clothbound Apple Pie
In a food processor (you can use a hand pastry blender if you don’t have a processor) combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse in the cheddar and butter until the mixture appears somewhat sandy.Then, pulse in cold water until the mixture holds together. Divide mixture into two rounds, wrap into plastic or wax paper, and chill for at least an hour. Roll dough rounds out after dusting your work surface with flour. Use one round for your bottom crust and the other for the top.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core, and slice apples into small wedges. Mix together all spices and sugar and evenly coat the apple slices in mixture. Add coated apples into your bottom crust and pile generously. Slice butter and arrange slices evenly atop apples. Dab the edge of your bottom crust with cold water and gently place your second crust atop the pie. Gently press crusts together to create a seal, and trim excess crust with a paring knife. You can use your thumb and forefinger to create a crust, or simply use a fork to crimp the edges. Use a paring knife to cut small slits into your top crust to allow steam to vent. Place pie in 425 degrees oven for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 350. Bake until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Allow pie to cool for 30 minutes, serve with dulce de leche or vanilla ice cream.