Cheddar Crumble Apple Pie

Once you make a huge life change it’s hard to plan out your days. Actually, that’s not true. The planning is the easy part. The follow through? Not so much.

The weather here has cooled off into the low 80s, which is how we know it’s autumn. Instinctively we know these days are always coming, but the mind gets muddled after so many intolerable summer days. The temperature shift coincided with my escape from a cubicle, and instead of being productive I just want to lie in the sun, languid and feline. One would think I had never felt a breeze before, considering the way I close my eyes as it passes over my skin.

I needed autumn to come. My bones seem to be crying out for a tromp through maple leaves, the final grilled meal of the year, and the wearing of sweaters and scarves. We planned our move here more than six years ago, but I don’t think I could have planned for how much I would end up missing the Midwest.

apple peeling

Maybe we’ll move back. Maybe I’ll go back to working an office job. But it won’t be tomorrow, or even next month. There’s a reason why “roll with the punches” and “Go with the flow” are such oft-repeated phrases. After all, if everything went to plan, I wouldn’t have made pie. The pie is because of a mistake. But that doesn’t make this any less of a pie. Sometimes things born out of necessity turn out better than what was planned.

A few months ago I was contacted by the people at Cornaby’s, asking if I would like to try their Ultra Gel and Thick Gel. These are gluten-free thickening agents that are similar to Clear Jel, a product used for canning. I was eager to try them not only because of all the canning I do, but because I know how unappetizing it looks when your fruit filling gets discolored and lumpy due to the thickeners not mixing in properly.

I used the Thick Gel in canned salsa and apple pie filling, and the results were beautiful. If you’ve ever made pie filling, the big questions is always “will it be too runny”? Sure, runny pie can taste delicious, but we all want that picture-perfect slice, right? While on first glance this filling seems like it will be too runny, the pie firms up perfectly during cooking and cooling. Never before have I made a more perfectly sliceable fruit pie – and I’m not just paying lip service to the people at Cornaby’s. This pie? A sloppy mess in comparison. Slice after slice, the pie made with Thick Gel held its shape, and the flavor was of fruit and spice, not gummy goo.

apple pie filling

So why was this pie born of a mistake? Well, in canning there are a few things you have to do properly. Such as make sure your rings are screwed on tight enough before sticking the jars in their water bath. Leaking pie filling is not a pretty sight, but it does mean you have a ready excuse to try the fruits of your labor. As luck would have it I had a pie crust in my freezer already, but I didn’t want to make a crust for the top. For apple pie I actually prefer the Dutch apple variety – that is, a crumble topping. I just so happened to have a chunk of Wisconsin cheddar in my fridge, and, well, I couldn’t not put it on the pie.

My mom saw me post about this pie on Twitter and immediately labeled it Wisconsin Law Pie. You see, the requirement of serving a slice of cheese with a slice of apple pie has long been an urban (rural?) myth among ‘Sconnies. From what I can find it was technically never true, although from 1935-1937 restaurants were indeed required to serve a small amount of butter and cheese at every meal. (Interestingly, Vermont passed a ruling in 1999 that asked for restaurants to make a “good faith effort” to serve some form of dairy with apple pie. Copycats.) Before you freak out at the thought of cheese on pie, don’t worry. The flavor is subtle, but adds a layer of depth.

cheddar crumble apple pie

This recipe comes in two parts – the first part for the canned filling, and the second for the pie itself. Never made pie filling? You’re in luck! The nice folks at Cornaby’s are offering up a gift pack of Thick Gel and Ultra Gel to one lucky reader.

Giveaway Details – GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

1. To enter, simply leave a comment telling us about your favorite autumn tradition.
2. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, October 21.
3. Winner will be drawn via Random.org and will be notified by email.

Disclaimer

Cornaby’s provided me with the product free of charge, but I was not otherwise compensated, nor was I required to provide a positive review.

cheddar crumble apple pie

The only problem I’ve found with canning apples is that it is rather hard to measure apple slices in terms of cups, yet this is how they are noted in recipes. I used a 2-cup measure and filled it to heaping, without packing the slices in, which worked out well. It doesn’t hurt to prep more apples than you need – if you have extra you can always make an impromptu pie, tart, applesauce, or ice cream sundae.

Apple Pie Filling

adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
makes approximately 3 quarts

12 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples*
2 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup Thick Gel
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 3/4 cold water
1/2 cup lemon juice

1. Sanitize jars and prep canner and lids.
2. Fill a large pot with water and heat to boiling. Blanch apple slices in 2 batches, cooking for 1 minute per batch. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
3. In a large nonreactive pot, combine sugar, Thick Gel, spices, and water. Whisking constantly, heat over medium-high and cook until bubbles begin to form. Break up any clumps using the back of a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice and boil for 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat and stir in apple slices.
5. Ladle into hot jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a wooden or plastic stick (do NOT use a metal utensil). Wipe off any spilled filling, giving special attention to the jar rims. Place lids, screw on bands, and process in a water-bath canner for 25 minutes.

* To prevent the apples from browning while you prep them, put the cut slices in a bowl filled with 4 cups water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Cheddar Crumble Apple Pie

makes 1 standard depth 9-inch pie

1 quart apple pie filling
1 prepared pie crust of choosing
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Pour pie filling into prepared crust.
3. In a small bowl, mix together flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheese. Scatter the topping over the pie evenly.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the crust and topping have browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

cheddar crumble apple pie

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve never used Thick Gel or Ultra Gel in my pies before. I will have to give that a try! It sure does make a pretty looking pie.

    My favorite autumn tradition is taking a drive through the mountains to peep the leaves. The landscape looks like the most gorgeous and colorful quilt!

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  2. says

    I grew up in FL so I don’t have a favorite fall tradition, seeing as how the seasons are “beach weather and non-beach weather.” I’m intrigued by these gels, though, as I just made what I refer to as pie soup. Trying to guesstimate on the right amount of corn starch to add to pie filling drives me bonkers.

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  3. yaheardme says

    I grew up in Iowa, and my favorite fall tradition is picking apples. Apple picking is always followed by endless days of apple cooking.

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  4. says

    I live in the Hudson Valley, and fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

    My favorite tradition has always been picking apples, and then using them every which way I can concoct. Pies, applesauce, cakes, strudel, crumbs; you name it!
    But now, that tradition has changed a bit, and it now includes bringing my niece to pick with me. She is 2 years old, and quite possibly the cutest little girl ever.

    Saturday we went picking, and while I was up in the tree harvesting from the tippy top Taylor says to me “Aunt Jess, I climb apple trees too!!!!!!!” So I asked her if she would like to climb, and happily said yes, and that is how it came about that I taught Taylor to climb an apple tree. One of my favorite parts of my favorite traditions.

    It’s all about love, family, and food. :-) <3

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  5. says

    Oooh…the cheddar is a killer idea! I haven’t done that yet. And since I am from Cornaby’s please count me out of the drawing, but I love the look of this pie. Must make a cheese topped pie for the husband now.

    Jana

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  6. says

    This pie is wonderful! I grew up eating apple pie always with a chunk of cheddar cheese. My Dad was French Canadian and we lived in France for five years and perhaps that’s where he grew to love cheddar with his pie, I don’t really know. All I know is that I love it. I’ve never thought to add cheddar to the topping but the next apple pie I bake, I’m going to try your recipe.

    I’ve never heard of the Thick Gel so I’ll be looking for some of that. Your pie looks delicious.

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  7. says

    Yum! Love apple pie! Looks fantastic! My favorite fall tradition is going up to Green Bluff, WA and spending the whole day picking apples, pears and pumpkins. And watching Pumpkin-Chunkin, of course. Who doesn’t love watching pumpkins being hurled through the air? Great post!

    xo
    Heather

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  8. Annie says

    Wow, cheese with apple pie? I eat apple slices with cheese all the time but never thought of this combination before. I’m definitely saving this recipe.

    My favorite fall tradition is going out to a rural farm to pick out pumpkins to carve for Halloween. They have a huge cornfield maze too and it’s different every year so it’s always fun for my family.

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  9. says

    I am fascinated by this pie and although I’ve heard that people eat cheddar cheese on apple pie all my life I don’t think I ever have! I have to make this since oh I love apple pie in autumn (a favorite of my men). Very cool! And oh we’re going through one of those life changes now so your thoughts all ring a bell with me!

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  10. says

    Hi Megan-I never heard of the Cornaby’s line before. I’ve also never canned apples before. I bet yours were delicious. (I still dream of your fig jam:)
    Your pie looks fabulous. Well, if I were in Italy right now (instead of rainy/muggy/hot Florida), I would go to a local festival on the weekend and walk around in the cool, crisp air. I would buy the kids hot roasted chestnuts and look around at all the pretty colors of the leaves. I’m dreaming:)

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  11. says

    It’s funny to hear that people have never heard of cheddar cheese with apple pie, thought not from Wisconsin, it was certainly a tradition where I grew up in Missouri too; maybe it’s a midwest thing?

    Looks gorgeous and now I’m thinking I desperately need to make something apple; especially since the fruit is on the counter and my taste buds are craving something. NOW.

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  12. says

    It’s funny but until about 10 years ago I’d never heard of pairing apple pie with cheddar cheese… and when I thought about it, it was one of those “duh” moments.. of course it would be delicious!
    I love the idea of this pie and will definitely have to try it out!!

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  13. says

    There is nothing that says Fall like a nice warm apple pie. I have found a great way to make this all time favorite even better. Personal peices of pie:) All you do is make your pie as normal but instead of it getting put into a pan to bake you simply put the shell and stuffing into a cupcake pan. Only 6 are allowed at a time for spill over. This way there is no cutting and everyone gets just the right size/hand held peice of apple pie:)

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  14. says

    Thank you for your post, I was sad that my family was not able to make it to the apple orchard this year. Instead I ended up buying one of the bags and using that to do some baking. This years apple treat was apple /oatmeal cookies..I think they would have done better if I put in some walnuts though. Either way they were a good treat to add to the pile of recipies:)

    [Reply]

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  1. […] the fruit of the week is, I grab them for baking. Pie is obvious, and one of my favorites is this Cheddar Crumble Apple Pie, but a whole pie screams dessert while Apple Pie Bars? Those whisper softly to you, saying, […]

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