Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple Streusel Cheese Pie

     If you ask me what my favorite apple dessert is I might be hard pressed to answer. I love apples, I eat one almost everyday. And it goes without saying I love desserts. Put the two together and the equation is I heart all apple desserts. Basically what I'm saying is that  this is probably one of what will be many more posts about apple desserts. 
    It's Autumn and apples are ubiquitous this time of year. My personal fave is the honey crisp. It's crisp, as the name implies and it maintains a crispness even after it's cooked and baked in an apple pie. No mealy, mushy apples for me. Now, straight up apple pie is mighty awesome, everybody has a recipe in their arsenal. There's nothing like a good old simple apple pie to lull you into a sense of Utopian harmony with the universe. I mean that, I really do. At least for me. But this time out I went a little off base and made an Apple Streusel Cheese Pie. Just 'cause.
   It's the kind of thing you can make in stages while you're doing laundry and taking things to the Good Will and taking a nap and clearing out some old dead branches and starting a fire in the chiminea. Then, when you have time to concentrate and the embers have died down, you just put everything together and, viola, you've got yourself a kick ass dessert. So it doesn't seem like you spent all day baking, I mean you got so much done and you baked a pie! If push comes to shove you can even make all the components the day before and assemble and bake the next day.

Apple Streusel Cheese Pie


2 cups unbleached AP flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up into little pieces
1/4 cup cold shortening
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
ice water (3-4 tablespoons, enough to form the dough)

It took a lot of restraint but I more or less followed this advice for a flaky crust and I was not disappointed. Put the cut up butter in the freezer and keep everything cold. Using a food processor, whizz the flour and sugar with the butter and shortening until you have tiny pea sized bits. Sprinkle in the ice cold water and stop just before a solid dough forms. Dump the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather it into a ball, flatten it to a disk and chill for an hour. Roll the dough on a floured board two or three inches larger in diameter than your pie tin. Fit the dough into the pie tin. Trim the edges and fold it under to meet the rim. Use your favorite method to crimp the crust, prick the bottom with a fork and chill for another hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place another pie tin on top or fill the pie shell with tin foil and pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges and bottom are lightly brown. Set aside.

apple filling
3 apples (granny smith, honey crisp, or similar baking apple)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Peel, core and cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Add the rest of the ingredients in a large, heavy bottom pot and stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the apples, bring to a boil on high, and then lower the heat and cook on medium for 15 to 20 minutes or until apples are tender and mixture has thickened. Set aside to cool. 

cheese pie filling
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg 
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth; add sugar and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl, making sure everything is incorporated. In a smaller bowl mix together egg, sour cream and vanilla by hand and add to cheese mixture. Beat on low until everything is blended but do not over mix. Transfer to a clean bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

oatmeal streusel        

1/3 cup unbleached AP flour
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup raw organic cane sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix all dry ingredients together and combine with melted butter. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place baked pie shell on a sturdy cookie tray. Pour in the cheese filling and carefully cover with apple filling. Top with streusel. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cheese filling has set and apple filling is bubbly. Chill for 2 hours before enjoying.

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  1. Mmmmm, this looks so tasty - love the combination of the cheese filling and the apples, sounds so delicious!

  2. Thanks Sara! Apples and cheese go so well together, although we don't often see the combo in desserts. I think that's what makes this pie so special.