Thinly sliced apples lend a subtle sweetness to this savory pie, which can be served hot, warm or cold. And it's substitute-friendly: Pastry-challenged cooks can use a ready-for-baking pie crust, leeks instead of onions, and steamed diced potatoes instead of apple slices.
Servings: 6 - 8
Yield: (makes one 9-inch pie)
- For the crust
- 3 cups flour, plus additional for rolling
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water
- For the cheese and onion filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tart apples or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into very thin slices
- 2 1/2 cups strong farmhouse cheddar, coarsely grated
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 sprig thyme (leaves only), finely chopped
- Sea salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the crust: In a large bowl using a pastry cutter or in a food processor, combine the flour, butter and salt and pulse to the consistency of coarse meal. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse just until a dough forms. Divide the dough in 2, making one section a little larger than the other. Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
For the cheese and onion filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until softened. Add the apples and cook for a few minutes; they should not lose their texture. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, then add the grated cheese, 2 of the eggs, cream, thyme and salt and peppers to taste, mixing well. Set aside.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have ready a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to a 10-inch round and transfer it to the pie pan. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and moisten the edges of the dough with a bit of the egg. Re-flour the work surface and roll out the remaining dough in the same manner, but slightly smaller. Add the cheese and onion filling and top with the remaining rolled-out dough, crimping the top and bottom crusts together at the edges. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Add decorative slits in the top crust with a sharp paring knife, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from food writer and television producer Tamasin Day-Lewis.
Tested by Leigh Lambert.
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