Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Streusel

I work in the Publishing department at Search, and our department is arguably the envy of all others. One of the best things about working in the Publishing department is the quality and frequency of potlucks. We have elaborate themed potlucks for every birthday.

For her 35th birthday/presidential campaign launch, my kooky boss, Tenessa, requested an all bacon and cheese potluck. Always up for a challenge, I volunteered to make dessert.

I like to think I’m pretty adventurous with food, but I admit, I was nervous about making an apple, bacon, and cheese pie. For one thing, I’d only made pie crust once before, and from what I’ve heard, pie crust can smell fear. Also? It’s an apple, bacon, and cheddar pie.

I love all those flavors together, but I hadn’t really thought of them in a sweet dessert.

My fears were unfounded. This pie is ridiculously delicious. If it weren’t such a pain in the ass to put together, I think I’d make this same pie once a week. Sweet, salty, smoky. Crispy cheese crust, like the best Cheez-It you’ve ever had. Tender, gooey apples. Candied bacon streusel.

Earlier this week, Tenessa announced her resignation from Search, and the Publishing department has been whining and moping ever since. Just imagine, dear Tenessa, how many ridiculous, over-the-top bacon and cheese dishes I have not yet made for you.

Oh, and congrats on the new job. If you need any help packing up your office, I’ll be here planning recipes and potluck themes, soaking Professor Meowington’s back with my salty tears.

Employees must wash their hands.

Recipe below the fold

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Streusel

Adapted from AllRecipes

6 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

[I used 6 apples (Cortland and Braeburn), but I think it could’ve used one or two more.]

In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the apple slices, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Bacon Streusel
Adapted from Everything Tastes Better with Bacon: 70 Fabulous Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces

In a large skillet, cook the bacon pieces over medium-low heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper platel to drain. Pour off the bacon drippings, and wipe out the skillet with another paper towel. Return the bacon to the pan.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the brown sugar over the bacon and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is melted and has coated the bacon pieces. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a baking sheet and chop it into bits.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Add the butter pieces and mix together with a fork until crumbly. Stir in the bacon bits.

Cheddar Crust
Adapted (just barely) from Martha Stewart

Makes two crusts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup ice water

Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; pulse until pea-size lumps appear. Pulse in cheese. With processor running, add ice water; process just until dough comes together.

Turn dough out; gather into a block and split in two. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Dough can be frozen up to 3 weeks.

Roll out one dough round and transfer to a pie plate. Fill with apple goodness and top with bacon streusel.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking for 30-35 minutes, until the apples are quite tender and the topping is bubbling and crisp. If the topping is browning too quickly or too much, cover it with foil.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before cutting.

Linked to: Eat at Home, Something Swanky, Jane Deere, 33 Shades of Green, Newlyweds, Big Bear’s Wife, Talking Dollars and Cents, Alli and Sons, Gooseberry Patch

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