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Pork & Apple Pie with Cheddar-Sage Crust

by in Jan 2012

Total Time: 60

Yield: 12 servings

This recipe for Pork & Apple Pie with Cheddar-Sage Crust — a sweet-and-savory stunner  was inspired by the fruit and meat pies common in British cooking. Here, we layer apples on top of a spiced ground-pork filling and wrap it all up in a savory herbed crust. The flavors are fantastic together, and this dish has been the hit of many parties--an especially good buffet option for the crust:

Pork
Photo/Art by Hornick/Rivlin

For the crust:

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surfaces
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage, finely crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg blended with 1 tablespoon water
  • Garnish: fresh sage leaves (optional)

Instructions:

First, make the dough: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, sage, and salt. Sprinkle butter cubes over flour mixture and use your fingers to work them in (rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do), until the mixture looks like cornmeal, with plenty of small lumps. Use a fork to stir in cheese. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water, and stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add another tablespoon or two of ice water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead three times. Gather dough into a ball; then divide into two portions, one slightly bigger. Press each portion into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to 3 days).

For the filling:

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds (about 3 large) firm-sweet apples (such as Golden Delicious or Pink Lady), unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 1-1/2 pounds firm-tart apples (such as Granny Smith or Northern Spy), unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground pork (preferably 15-17% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

Instructions:

Make the filling: In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook apples without any oil, stirring gently, until they just begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Add onion, pork, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Cook, using a wooden spoon to break up meat, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let meat mixture cool 10 minutes; then transfer to a food processor. Add breadcrumbs and pulse five times until mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425° and set a rack to the second-to-bottom position. Prepare the crust: Sprinkle counter with flour; then unwrap larger dough disk and turn in flour to coat. Working from center, roll dough out, turning it as you go to keep it from sticking, until you have a 13-inch circle. Roll dough up around a rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Press crust into sides, draping any excess over the edge. Unwrap smaller dough disk and roll out as above to an 11-inch circle. Set aside.
Pour meat mixture into bottom crust and smooth gently with a spatula. Arrange cooked apple slices over meat, pressing down to smooth and neaten. Lay top crust over pie. Using a sharp knife, make two 3-inch slashes in the crust to let steam escape. Fold edges of bottom crust up over top, and crimp to seal. Brush crust with egg wash and decorate with sage leaves if you like. Bake 10 minutes; then lower heat to 375° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more. Let cool 25 minutes before serving.

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Updated Thursday, December 15th, 2011
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