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Is it a sweet quiche or a savory pie? The line between dessert and main-dish pies is often a thin one, and this recipe straddles it nicely. At first glance the marriage between apples, sausage and cheese seems a strange one; but in New England, apple pie with a slice of Vermont Cheddar cheese is an old-time favorite, as is apple pie for breakfast -- a breakfast which often includes sausage. So put aside your reservations and dig in; this pie is surprisingly good.
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
6 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced approx. 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter or margarine
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 pound sausage meat, crumbled
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
For the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter till mixture is crumbly. Divide mixture in half (there should be just under 3 cups total, so divide into two 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-cup batches). To one half, add 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water, just enough to form a dough suitable for rolling. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap and place in the refrigerator. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar to the other half, and set it aside.
For the filling: Melt the butter or margarine in a large, heavy skillet or deep pan set over medium heat. Add the apple slices, stirring to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the apples with sugar and cinnamon or spice, cover the pan, and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes, or until the apples are tender but still crisp. Remove from heat and cool.
Cook the sausage meat till done. Drain and set aside.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from refrigerator. If it's been refrigerated for longer than 1 hour, let it soften at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll the dough into a circle large enough to fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Fit the dough into the pan, and prick all over with a fork. Fill the bottom with pie weights or line with foil and fill with dried beans, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove weights or beans and foil from crust.
Spoon apple mixture into crust. Top with cooked sausage, then with grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved crust/brown sugar mixture over all. Return pie to oven and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm. Makes 6 large or 8 medium servings.
Note: You can easily do several steps at once in this recipe. Cook the apples and the sausage at the same time, and while they're on top of the stove, put the crust into the oven for its initial 10-minute baking. All three will be done and ready for the final assembling at just about the same time.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 9, September 1991 issue.