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Cheddar cheese provides flavor that both complements and contrasts with tart, sweet apples. Many people enjoy a slice of cheddar along with an apple turnover, apple frittata or a piece of apple pie. A cheddar apple pie takes the idea one step further, with cheddar cheese baked right into the crust or into the filling.
Apple pie and cheddar cheese might not seem like an intuitive match, but cheese combined with fruit has a long history. Except for fruit, sweet desserts are a relatively recent development. Before modern refrigeration, it wasn't easy to keep ice cream frozen or whipped cream cool, and baking sweet concoctions before the advent of the temperature-controlled oven could produce uneven results. Instead, people who could afford cheese and fruit commonly ate those foods at the end of a meal.
An example of a cheddar cheese crust for an apple pie begins with flour and a bit of salt, with butter cut into the mixture. The cook then stirs shredded cheddar into the dry mix before adding liquid ingredients. For pie with a cheddar-apple filling, shredded or cubed cheese is added to the apple mixture. Good spices for the cheddar apple pie filling include cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cheddar cheese becomes harder and develops a more intense flavor with age. Rather than using greater or smaller amounts of cheese for flavor variation in the cheddar apple pie, choosing the appropriate flavor strength works best. For the strongest flavor, extra-sharp cheddar can be added, or mild cheddar can be added for a more subtle taste. The flavor of a quality extra-sharp cheddar is quite pronounced and might be a bit much for the average apple pie lover.
Many cheese manufacturers add orange coloring to cheddar cheese, which is naturally off-white or yellow. The pie baker can thus control the color of the crust or filling, making the cheddar content more or less obvious. People who really love cheddar cheese might appreciate a slice of it alongside their cheddar apple pie.
There are many variations that provide different flavors. Smoked cheddar or flavored cheddar, such as that containing bacon or Port wine, provides an interesting twist in the cheddar apple pie crust or filling. Maple syrup, pecans and walnuts also provide flavorful variations on a classic favorite.
For additional variations, other types of cheese can be included in a cheddar blend. The cheddar flavor combines particularly well with certain types of cheese. Cheddar and mozzarella is a common combination in pizza, for example. Some gourmet macaroni and cheese recipes combine cheddar with Gruyère. Cream cheese lends a different flavor and texture to the pie filling.