Things have been crazy around here.
The effects of the flood have not, to put it mildly, been pretty. In fact, looking at the aftermath of it is depressing. We’ve packed a lot of old clothes and shoes for the relief drive, but on a personal level, the damage and loss we have sustained in our own family company is also brutal. Let’s just say we’ve been cleaning for three days non-stop and haven’t even made it to a quarter of the stocks and other things that need to be rescued. The paperwork on my desk is slowly piling up, neglected in favour of other more dire priorities. I reckon it will take about a month to get everything back in their original state, but I hardly feel like I am in a position to complain. I have to be resilient, just like everyone else. Just like those who received a worse beating from this storm.
It amazes me how two very opposite things can happen in the same week– on the same day even. On Thursday the rains finally heaved its last sigh and it took only a few hours for the flood in our area to disappear completely. In the morning the streets had looked like a lake and come afternoon it was dried out, leaving not even a single sign that there had been a deluge. But it has certainly left something in me at the end of this week: a severe tiredness; and some paranoia with any sound that resembles that of rain. Every time the trees outside my window so much as rustle, I look up to see if it is raining again. Things are not normal yet despite how they may appear; not by a long shot.
But a dash of good cheer: One of the more admirable things about people is their ability to pick up the pieces after the storm is done and move on. That’s always the case isn’t it? You either carry on with your life and do the best you can, or let the negativity weigh you down and carry you off into a bad place. I choose the first option of course, and though it may be tiring at times, no one ever disallowed taking breaks to shake off the weariness.
Today is a Sunday, and in preparation for another long period of cleaning this coming week, all I want to do today is watch The Newsroom, play Rockband 3, visit a bookstore, and write about apple pie. Not necessarily in that order.
I really like this version of apple pie. The best part about it, and my brothers agree with me on this, is the cheddar crust. Cheddar. Crust. This coming from someone who doesn’t like cheese. I never understood why some people eat their pie with cheese but I guess now I have an idea. Although the filling isn’t the best that I’ve had, it’s a pretty good pie altogether.
Cheddar-Crusted Apple Pie
Makes one double-crusted 9-inch pie
For the Cheddar Pâte Brisée
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
For the filling
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 pounds tart Granny Smith apples
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Make the crust
- 1. In a food processor, briefly pulse flour, salt, and sugar (or whisk together by hand in a bowl). Add butter and cheddar and pulse (or use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter and cheddar) until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining.
- 2. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water over the mixture. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix or pulse. Avoid over-mixing.
- 3. Divide the dough into two portions and turn out onto large pieces of plastic wrap. Gather the dough into rounds, fold plastic over the dough, and press to shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.*
When ready to make the pie
- 4. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C), with rack in lowest position.
- 5. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk of dough to a 13-inch round 1/8-inch thick. Transfer one round to a baking sheet for top crust; refrigerate. Fit the second round into a 9-inch pie plate for the bottom crust. Trim dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
Prepare the filling
- 6. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core apples; thinly slice crosswise, tossing with lemon juice as you work. Add flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to bowl; toss to combine.
- 7. Fill bottom crust with apple mixture, piling high in the center. Lightly brush edge of the crust with water. Place top crust over filling; press all around the edge to seal with bottom crust.
- 8. Using kitchen shears, trim to a 1-inch overhang; fold under itself to form edge and press to seal. Using thumb and forefinger, crimp dough along rim.
- 9. With a paring knife, cut 5 small slits in the center of the pie to let steam escape. Place pie plate on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- 10. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F (190°C), and bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 55 to 60 minutes more. If rim browns too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack, at least 4 hours or up to overnight before serving.