Caught with my (maternity) pants down (and a bonus pie recipe)

Have you gotten your copy yet?

Have you gotten your copy yet?

I hadn’t planned on posting anything new for another week or so, as I’m squeezing the last bits out of my maternity leave (read: attempting not to get buried under laundry). But alas, my story about Thanksgiving pie has appeared in the November issue of Saveur, so I feel I need to do a little sharing, to try to seduce any new readers that might be checking me out.

As with any story, sometimes your favorite stuff ends up on the cutting room floor. It could be that the magazine staff doesn’t care for a recipe of yours, or maybe it’s too similar to something else they’re running, or maybe they just run out of space. In any case, I developed two beloved recipes for this story that just didn’t make it in, but voila! What is a blog for if not for doing whatever the heck I want?

So here it is. An early Thanksgiving present. Stay tuned for the other pie recipe.

Apple pie with cheddar crust

For crust:

2¼ cups a-p flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

11/4 sticks unsalted butter

8 oz extra-sharp cheddar (preferably yellow), grated on the fine holes of a box grater

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Coarse sugar and Maldon flaky sea salt for sprinkling

For filling:

2 large Granny Smith apples (9 to 10 oz each), peeled and wedged

4 large Golden Delicious apples (7 to 8 oz each), peeled and wedged

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons a-p flour

2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1½ tablespoon unsalted butter

Make crust:

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and paprika in a large bowl. Add cold butter, and with your fingertips, quickly break up butter and toss with flour mixture to coat. Continue breaking up butter and tossing with flour, eventually moving on to “rubbing” the flour into the butter as the chunks get smaller. Add cheese and continue to combine flour, butter, and cheese. Stop when you have a relatively uniform meal with some large chunks. Add mayonnaise, then 5 tablespoons very-cold water, and use the back of a fork to combine water with dough, until dough mostly comes together. Finally, get back in with your hands and turn dough over itself a few times, each time mixing those crumbs that haven’t come together into the center of the ball of dough. When dough comes together, fold it over itself once or twice to be truly convinced that the dough will stick into a ball. Divide dough in half and flatten each into a disc; wrap each with plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour or more before moving on.

Make filling and bake pie:

Arrange oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 425; bring crusts to room temperature 15 minutes. Roll out bottom crust, fit into pieplate, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Toss filling ingredients (except butter) together and let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, as you roll out top crust. Roll top crust, then refrigerate 10 minutes (longer is fine). Pour filling into pie shell, then cut remaining butter into little bits and dot over the top. Cover with with top crust, trim excess and fold under; press firmly to pinch shut. Cut four vents into the top of crust, and brush with water; sprinkle with coarse sugar and sea salt.

Bake pie on bottom rack 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and cover the edge of the pie with foil. Bake until thick juices bubble through the vents, about 45 minutes more. Allow to cool on a rack 4 hours.


17 thoughts on “Caught with my (maternity) pants down (and a bonus pie recipe)

  1. I just picked up Saveur and read your pie article. With tears in my ears, I re-read it. As a child, I “helped” my mother make an apple pie by adding Cayenne pepper instead of Cinnamon as at 6 I only knew the C letter. Pie has been on a back burner since!

    I wish you would write a pie making book. Now I’m off to the kitchen to try your dough recipe! Thx for the article

  2. Two questions–
    1. Yellow cheddar is preferable–why? (My favorite super-sharp cheddar is white, but I’m open to persuasion.)
    2. I prefer to weigh my dry ingredients, esp. flour. Should I figure 125 g./cup?

    • Hi there! The yellow cheddar is totally for psychological reasons—I wanted the crust to have that orange hue that speaks “cheddar” to our minds. But if you can get over that in the name of flavor, totally go for the white. As for weighing, that is in a territory that I still have not ventured to. I know it’s more accurate, but I am an old-school American home baker, despite my training.

  3. I just read your article, and immediately searched out your blog. I loved how you described the patronizing attitude of so many cookbook authors about pie crust! I was laughing to myself in recognition as I read it. I am a cookbook junkie, but you are so right on. For a long time I made apple cobblers and crisps, because my mother was a cake baker and not a pie maker, so I wasn’t raised with great pie-making knowledge handed down. My mother’s from the upper west side of NYC, she doesn’t know from pies! I finally reached the point where I proudly make pies, and sometimes I even use pre-made pie crust (Trader Joe’s). I have Smitten Kitchen’s quiche in the oven right now, in a TJ’s pie crust. Looking forward to reading your blog in the future, and will try that apple cheddar recipe of yours.

  4. Leslie, thank you for the pie inspiration. So far, I have tried the pumpkin–delicious!, the walnut–neighborhood favorite, and the caramel apple–terrific. The apple seemed to develop a lot of excess moisture. Should I let the caramel cool a bit more before adding it to the pie? Could the caramel be mixed with the apples before placing in the crust? Maybe I should just try again and hope for better results. By the way, I am using a whole grain (whole wheat flour and oat flour) crust which has turned out to be very flakey and tastes good.

    • Hi Ric, thanks for writing! The walnut pie is my favorite. If you read the teeny-tiny print on the apple caramel pie (I wish it had been more prominent, because the story makes it sound like it’s MY recipe!) you will see that it’s actually the recipe of the bakery Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. But I can try troubleshooting! Did you use the kind of apples called for in the recipe? (Others can water out sometimes.) Also, did you wait as long as specified before cutting into it? The filling continues to set as it cools, so cutting early can sometimes mean that the liquid that hasn’t fully thickened yet runs out of the pie. In any case, I’m glad you like it! It is delicious, isn’t it?

  5. Hi Lesley, Are you still following up on the blog, despite the temptations of Rome? If so, two questions. (1) Can I make the dough in advance/freeze? (2) I tend to buy a variety of local CNY apples for pie–how important are the versions you suggest? Could I just substitute a variety of good bakers of similar weights? Thanks, Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer! I get emails when people comment on my sleeping blog, so no worries! You can definitely make the dough and freeze. Thaw it at least 2 days in the fridge, and then bring it to room temp before rolling for at least an hour.

      You can definitely substitute good bakers, but the key word is bakers. So many great eating apples just go watery in pie. If the apple is known to be good for baking, you can give it a go and use similar weights!

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