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American as Apple Pie… and Cheese

“An apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.”

If you’re from New England or the Midwest, this might be a familiar phrase. But for many, this is confusing. Many are aware of how well apple pie and vanilla ice cream go together, but few realize that cheese can be just as great a pairing. The sweetness of the pie contrasts beautifully with the sharpness and saltiness of many cheeses. It’s kind of like chocolate covered pretzels: It seems like salt covered cracker and sweet milk chocolate are far too different to work together, yet they do. 

What’s really interesting about apple pie and cheese, is how many different ways it can work. This first applies to the cheeses itself. While cheddar is the most popular cheese used in this pairing, it also has been known to work with others like Gruyére, gouda, and even Parmesan. A slightly smoked cheese could also work well with an apple pie, creating a more subtle contrast between the two flavors. Essentially, if it’s an aged cheese and has a strong flavor, it will probably pair well with some apple pie.

So, let’s add some cheese to our pie! One way to do this is to melt it on top of the pie itself. This adds a new layer of contrast where the smooth melted cheese meets the crumble and crunch of the pie crust. Many swear by this, claiming it is the absolute best way to eat cheese with apple pie. If you’re worried about the flavor and texture of the pie crust getting lost in the layers of melted cheese, try crumbling the cheese on instead of melting it. This will provide a similar effect in terms of flavor, but the texture will be different enough to not take away from the texture of the piecrust.

A second method is baking the cheese into the crust itself. If you pick a cheese that melts well, this gives the crust a juicier texture than simply melting the cheese on. However, you can still have the crumbly nature of a piecrust, rather than losing it in the mix of the melted cheese. This way takes a bit longer, but you’ll sort of be able to get the best of both worlds: keeping both the rich flavor of the cheese and the texture of the pie crust in tact.

A third method is to bake the cheese in with the apples, adding it to the filling. 

If you’re serving apple pie this Thanksgiving, or just making one for the heck of it, consider adding some cheese to the recipe this season. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a pairing you didn’t know was perfect.

Photo Credit: Featured image courtesy of cakespy.com

Amanda Doughty

Amanda Doughty considers cheese to be an essential part of her upbringing, as her family owns Anthony's Italian Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Portland, Maine. She studied creative writing at Emerson, where she was considered an outcast for refusing to touch the disgusting pizza in the Dining Hall. She admits that is a bit of a food snob, especially when it comes to pizza and cheese.