Are you starting to plan your Thanksgiving feast? One of our Creative Directors of Editorial at Hallmark, Lauren B., recommends this Cheddar Thyme Apple Pie. You can adjust the combination of herbs and spices to suit your tastes, so it might be worth making one (or seven) to sample before the big day. If we could, we’d definitely offer to help you taste-test.
As a picky eater in childhood, I was totally freaked out by fruit pies. No one in my family made them, and without anyone to tell me otherwise, I just assumed the “goop” inside—which I now know is the delicious interior where fruit, sugar, and flour magically combine—was a fake, mystery substance that could only come from a dust-covered tin can deep in the baking aisle. So the first time I read a real fruit pie recipe, my reaction was: “Where’s the goop?”
Most of my pie questions, including that one, have been answered in a single book: Bubby’s Homemade Pies, by Ron Silver & Jen Bervin. It takes its name from Bubby’s, a cozy restaurant and pie shop in New York that’s basically a little slice of heaven on earth. Bubby’s taught me how to make sweet pies, savory pies, fruit pies, cream pies…and a few dozen pies later, I started to feel confident enough to experiment. Dangerous, right?
When Bubby’s recipe for “Sharp Cheddar Cheese Pastry Crust” caught my eye, I knew it had to happen—preferably when the decadent summer fruits had gone and the crisp air begged to be filled with something rich and tasty.
Nothing says “fall” like apple pie with a savory twist. So here’s my recipe for Cheddar Thyme Apple Pie.
The cheddar in this crust gets delightfully speckled and toasty as it bakes, while the interior gets nice and creamy. The filling combines classic spices like nutmeg and cloves with a little thyme. I played it safe with the spices, so you can dial up your favorite flavors, play around, and make it your own. Enjoy!
With any pie crust, it’s best to start with as many chilled ingredients as possible. I store my flour in the freezer, which gives me a little head start. Using chilled ingredients delays the gluten development, so you end with a nice, flaky crust instead of something tough and brittle. For this crust, I also used a food processor instead of mixing by hand. My machine is on the smaller side, so I make each crust separately.
Cheddar Thyme Apple Pie
The crust is from Bubby's Homemade Pies, by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin. I doubled the recipe to make a top and bottom crust.
- 1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter cold, cubed
- 3/4 c grated extra-sharp cheddar (Bubby's recommends farmhouse-style cheddar. My grocery store carried Cabot Farmhouse Cheddar for a reasonable price.)
- 3 Tbsp water ice cold
Apple Thyme filling
- 7 apples I used a mix of Gala and Ginger Gold.
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 c sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 3/8 tsp nutmeg ground
- 1/8 tsp cloves ground
- Several twists freshly ground black pepper
Preparing the crust
To start the crust, combine flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in the food processor, then pulse a few times to mix.
Cut cold butter into small cubes, toss it into the chilled flour, and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.
Then, add the grated cheddar and pulse a few more times.
Finally, add ice-cold water. Pulse until the dough starts to thicken, climbing the sides of your food processor, and the moisture is evenly mixed throughout.
Remove, shape into a ball, and flatten with your palm into a flat disk. Wrap it in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you’re making each crust separately, run through these steps again to make a second crust.
Once the disks have chilled, roll them out between two sheets of parchment paper to a 1/8” thickness, maintaining a circle shape. Fit one crust into the bottom of your pie dish. Return both crusts to the fridge while you make the filling.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Adding the filling
Add the lemon juice to your mixing bowl.
Peel, core, and slice your apples to about ¼ - 3/8” thick, then toss the slices in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
When all the slices are in the bowl, add sugar, flour, and spices. Toss to mix. Taste-test and adjust sweetness and spices as you wish! Add the slices to the bottom of your pie dish, nudging them around so they fit neatly together (and you avoid taking up extra space with air).
Fit your top crust over the filling. This dough holds up well if you want to try a lattice or shaped cookie cutters. Crimp the edges in your favorite style and cut vents in the top if you’ve kept it solid.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 375° and bake at least an additional 30 minutes. (I generally keep mine in the oven another 40-50 minutes, watching for the juices inside to thicken and bubble slowly.) If the top of the crust begins to brown too quickly, put aluminum foil over the pie.
Finally, remove pie from the oven and let cool at least an hour or two (if you can stand it!) before cutting. Serve at room temperature. Store uncovered up to 3 days.
WE HAVE PLENTY MORE THANKSGIVING IDEAS WHERE THAT CAME FROM. TRY A GINGER PUMPKIN PIE, OR DECORATE YOUR TABLE WITH CENTERPIECE IDEAS.
Photography by Allie Fields.