The kitchen is a mess and there is flour on every visible surface. The smell of cinnamon and warm apples fills all the rooms in my house. It’s taken the better part of my afternoon, but I have been rewarded with the best cheddar dill apple pie I’ve ever tasted. I won’t lie to you. This pie takes some time and effort, as any made from scratch pie will. But if you follow my tips for the perfect pie it will all be worth it.
Like many people I first went to my grandma to learn how to make an apple pie. I was going to meet my then boyfriend’s parents and I wanted to impress them. My grandma handed me $20 as I awaited her instructions for what ingredients I needed to get from the store. Then she told me her secret ingredient. Go to the freezer section, she said, and get the Marie Calendar Dutch Apple Pie.
Her plan was to transfer it to one of her pie pans and heat it up. Well, that was exactly what I did and the parents were impressed! I later told them the truth. But I let them believe I made that pie by hand for some time. It’s a funny story and has remained to be one of my favorite memories of my late grandma.
In recent years though I discovered the wonderful resource that is America’s Test Kitchen. It was in their Cooks Country cookbook that I found the basis for this cheddar dill apple pie. If you don’t own any of their cookbooks I would highly recommend them to cooks of any skill level. They have tested each recipe extensively and give you what is truly the best practice for producing a great recipe, time and time again.
Every cook should have a solid dessert recipe they can pull out for special gatherings, holidays, or just when they feel like making something special. I hope this pie recipe will find a place in that collection for you. This pie goes beyond just being a sweet dessert into a savory flavor explosion. The cheddar and dill make for a surprising, but delicious twist on the classic. But it doesn’t stop there the flaky crust provides a crisp and not at all soggy experience when enjoying this pie.
But there is really nothing I can say to you that will compare to the magic moment when you take a first bite of this pie. It is a labor of love, but you won’t be sorry if you to make it!
Helpful Tips When Making a Pie
- Keep the butter cold the whole time. It is crucial that you do not let the butter melt or soften before you put the pie into the oven. The cold butter will be what makes the crust soft and flaky. If a step is taking you a little longer than you thought, or your hands are warming up the butter a little too much I like to pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes to re-chill.
- Pie crusts require ice water. When the recipe calls for ice water it literally means water that has been cooled with ice. This helps in keeping the butter cold and again making that flaky, crispy crust.
- Do not over mix your crust. One of the biggest reasons baked goods (involving gluten) fail is that the dough is over mixed. This will cause the dough to become tough and dense. Mix until the ingredients are just combined and no more!
- Feel free to use tools. If you have a food processor or a mixer feel free to use those to mix the ingredients in this recipe. I choose to not use this tools as I know a lot of home cooks may not have them and I wanted this recipe to be accessible to everyone!
- Make sure your oven is fully pre-heated. It is essentially that your oven is already at the proper temperature when you put your pie in to bake. An oven that is too cold when throw off the cooking times and could cause your crust to be soggy or under cooked.
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Savory flaky crust and just sweet enough apple filling make this Cheddar Dill Apple Pie the last pie recipe you will ever need.
- 2-1/2 Cups Flour
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Dried Mustard
- 1/2 Tsbp Fresh Dill Finely chopped
- 2 Cups Cheddar Shredded
- 8 Tsbp Butter Chilled in freezer for 15 minutes
- 2/3 Cup Ice Water
- 8 Granny Smith Apples Thinly sliced
- 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
In a large bowl add flour, salt, dried mustard, and dill and mix together until well incorporated.
Add the butter (sliced into 1/2" pieces) and cheddar to the bowl and cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or a fork. Work the mixture until the butter pieces are about the sizes of peas.
Slowly add half the ice water and mix them into the flour/butter/cheddar mixture. Continue adding the ice water until the flour is no longer dry and remains together.
Divide the mixture in half and roll into two equally sized balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap tightly and place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. The pie dough can remain in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be frozen for a month.
Peel and thinly slice apples. This is easiest to do with an apple peeler. You can purchase the one I use here. I would highly recommend purchasing one if you will make apple pie frequently!
Add the apples to deep pot and add the cinnamon, salt, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. Over medium high heat, cook the apples until tender. About 12 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the filling mixture cool until the dough is finished chilling. If the dough was pre-prepared, just make sure that the mixture has cooled before adding it to the crust.
Turn the oven onto 425 degrees to preheat. Remove one dough ball from the fridge and using a well floured surface and rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12" wide disc.
Very carefully lay the sheet of dough over a greased pie dish. Press the dough into the dish and then trim any overhanging edges.
Add the cooled filling to the to the pie dish, over the crust. Place in the fridge to chill while rolling out the top crust.
Remove the second dough ball from the fridge and once again roll out into a 12" disc. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1" thick strips. About 12 strips.
Layer the strips in a weaving pattern as pictured above. Alternatively, you can just lay the crust as a sheet on top of the pie. Just be sure to cut 4 slits into the crust to release the hot air while it is baking.
Gently squeeze together the edges of the crust. Place the pie on a sheet pan (this will make it easier to remove from the oven) and put into the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn down the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 35 - 40 minutes or until the crust has become golden brown.
Let the pie cool for at least an hour before serving and enjoy!
You may need…
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- A pastry cutter makes it much easier to add the butter to the flour if you don’t have a food processor or mixer.
- Pie crust shield will help you from getting to brown of edges.