Many people know apple as an American classic, but not many people know about the unique custom of putting cheese on apple pie. This unique tradition has become a staple for some apple pie lovers. Though to many it may some weird or gross, others swear by it as a delicious dessert.
This unusual sweet and salty combination is popular in the Northeast region of America and even throughout the Midwest. Though it is often credited to be an American invention, this pairing goes back to medieval Europe.
How Did Cheese on Apple Pie Get its Start?
Though it has become a beloved tradition among some Americans, cheese on apple pie got its start back in 17th century England. Though people have been eating cheese and fruits together for thousands of years, cheese on apple pie can be traced back to the English.
English pies were often topped with custard or other dairy-based sauces. Even though the exact year is unknown, at some point cheese was incorporated with pies.
It was believed that eating cheese with fruits at the end of meals would help with digestion. After the English added cheese to pie, it became a popular dish in American colonies. English settlers continued on with this unusual pairing of foods.
What Type of Cheese is Used?
Traditionally, cheddar cheese is used with apple pies. Many people love the sharp taste of cheddar cheese with the sweet taste of apple pie. For those who love the combination, they think it is the perfect balance of the two.
Though sharp cheddar cheese is the most common type added to apple pie, some people like to add other types of cheese. Mascarpone, brie and goat cheese can also be added to this classic dessert. These three kinds of cheese tend to be creamier, softer and slightly sweeter than cheddar cheese.
Many fans of the dish live by the saying “an apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze.” Those who love it will tell you it’s the only way to eat apple pie.
Different Ways of Serving Apple Pie With Cheese
There are different ways you can eat this unique dessert. Each way gives the pie a hint of cheese flavor to balance with the sweet apple.
Different apple pie and cheese lovers have their favorite way of eating the unique combination. The cheese can be baked into the crust, melted onto the top or mixed in with the filling.
Cheese Baked into the Crust
One take on apple pie and cheese is to bake the cheese into the crust. Baking the cheese into the crust makes for a deliciously buttery, flaky crust with a hint of cheese.
The cheese adds a nice savory flavor to the pie. Baking cheddar cheese into the pie gives it a subtler cheese flavor while still providing a sweet and salty taste.
When adding cheese to the pie crust, it is recommended to use freshly grated sharp and white cheddar cheese. Grating the cheese before making the pie will allow for a fresher and moister cheese. This will provide better flavor and texture in the pie than using store-bought shredded cheese will.
Cheese Baked Into the Filling
Another way of serving apple pie with cheese is baking the cheese into the apple filling. With the apples and cheese mixed together, it creates a classic pairing of sweet and savory.
In addition, the apples and cheese mixed together, many agree that the spices compliment the cheese well. It tends to add a more savory, cheesy flavor than adding the cheese into the crust.
Just like for cheddar cheese crust, it is recommended to add freshly grated cheese into the apple filling. This will provide better texture and taste for the filling.
Traditionally, a blend of cheddar cheese is used for the pie filling. Using different cheese provides more flavor. Some people also use other cheeses besides cheddar, like Gouda or blue cheese.
Adding Cheese to the Top of the Pie
Probably the most popular form of this unusual dish is adding cheese to the top. This has become a classic dessert in New England. Many locals enjoy this style of pie with cheese.
A slice of cheddar is often melted on top of a freshly baked piece of the pie. In spite of seeming gross to some, this is a favorite among others.
It is ideal to let the pie cool for about 20 minutes before adding cheese. Most people add the cheese after slicing the pie, but some people add slices to the pie while it is whole.
Some diners in the Northeast and some areas in the Midwest of America will have apple pie with cheese on top as a menu item. They will typically melt a piece of cheese on to your piece of pie after you order it.
An Unusual Tradition
This combination of foods definitely makes a unique dish. To some, it might seem like an acquired taste, but to others, it is a favorite dessert combination. People love it for its balance of sweet and salty.
This New England tradition goes further back than a colonial dessert. Both apple pie and cheese on pie got its start back in England. In addition, cheese with fruit has been an ancient tradition.
The idea that cheese and fruit at the end of the meal helped digestion later blossomed into the tradition of cheese on apple pie. Fruit and cheese continue to be a popular combination on wine platters; however, cheese on apple pie has not gained as much popularity.
Though it may seem like a strange mix to some, others rave over the flavor combination. Don’t rule out this unusual pairing until you try it yourself.
Please comment if you have any questions or remarks regarding cheese on apple pie!