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Cheddar Crust Apple Crostata

Renée Robinson

I Don’t Think It Can Get Any Better Than This!

I love it when I get this excited about a recipe. Throughout the years, I’ve tried various recipes for apple pie/galette/crostata with cheddar cheese in the crust and I have never been satisfied. I see no reason to add cheese to the crust if you can’t really taste it. I want the flavor combination of cheese and apples to really be at the forefront of every bite. Otherwise, what is the point?

I finally decided to take this on myself. Going in, I knew I needed some really good aged cheddar. The common cheddar sold in blocks in the grocery store wouldn’t be powerful enough, so I began with good aged English cheddar. It’s important here. And since I was going to be using my food processor for the crust, I used it to quickly shred my cheese coarsely. If you choose to do it by hand, use the coarsest side of a box grater. You don’t want finely shredded cheese. 

I then removed the cheese and added flour and salt to the bowl of the processor. Next came cold slices of butter that I only pulsed a couple of times – just until I had odd sized pieces of flour covered butter. Then I added ice water and the shredded cheddar cheese.  I only processed it for a few seconds. I didn’t let it go until it had formed dough that started clumping together. It was still very crumbly and I could see the pieces of cheese in the mix. I tested it by grabbing a small handful and squeezing it. It held together and I knew I was good to go. After dumping it out onto my counter and kneading it a few times, I shaped it into a disc and put it in the fridge while I prepped the apples. My video shows the crust making process clearly.

Now, as to the kind of apples I used. I went with honey crisps. I wanted tart sweet apples and they’re my favorite for eating out of hand, so I thought I’d give them a try. 

I peeled and cored them, sliced them into thin wedges, added sugar, a little flour, cinnamon, and salt. After tasting this mixture, I realized I wanted something to perk up the flavor and didn’t think lemon juice would give me what I wanted. That’s when I hit on Sonomic Gold Almost Vinegar. It is less acidic than other vinegars and happens to have a flavor that is very reminiscent of apricots. I just knew it would be good here. 

I only added a couple of teaspoons to the apples and then sprinkled an additional teaspoon on top of the apples when the crostata came out of the oven. If you don’t happen to have this on hand, you can substitute a mixture of 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, and 1 teaspoon water. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious.

I set the apples to the side while I rolled out the crust. You need to roll it out until it’s nice and big – approximately 17 inches round – and transfer it to a parchment lined half sheet pan. The edges will hang over the sides. I made sure I made enough dough so that I would get a large crostata. I don’t like going to the trouble of making something like this and only ending up with a small size. 

It was now time to layer on all those apples. As I gave them a stir I saw that juices had developed and I decided to give myself a little insurance policy in order to prevent a soggy crust. I stirred together a tablespoon of flour, a couple tablespoons of sugar, and sprinkled it all over the crust. Then I layered on all the apples, folded over the edges of the crust, spooned on the reserved apple juices, and brushed the apples with melted butter. 

In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m not a fan of using egg washes on pie crusts and that held true here. I don’t like the false sense of the pastry being done that an egg wash gives you. It browns too quickly and the pastry will still be raw. So, I choose to spray the edges of the crust with water and sprinkle sugar on both the crust and the apples. 

After a 20 minute chill in the fridge, I baked it for 45 minutes in a 400° oven. As you can see, the tips of the apples and the edges of the crust got some charring on them. This is where the flavor lies. I can’t emphasize more strongly how important it is to bake this until you think you’ve gone too far. But trust me, you haven’t. The bottom of the crust will be a deep golden brown and it will be crisp. The charring gives you a balance of flavor that is spectacular. 

I’ve mentioned in the past that I ate an apple tart in Paris that was charred in this way and it was extraordinary. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse, but it really was life changing in that I would never have guessed how much this adds to the flavor if I hadn’t eaten that simple apple tart. I’ve been trying to achieve the same thing ever since. It’s the sugar on the crust that chars. Not the dough itself. And that’s why you get that slight, but deep burnt caramel flavor. In this case, it perfectly complements the funky cheese and sweet/tart apple flavors. Then the little drizzle of that sweet vinegar on top really was the icing on the cake.

When I cut into my slice I could definitely taste the cheddar. I think this is because I used quite a bit of it, and also because I kept the cheddar in pieces that were distinguishable. Those melted bits were very discernible in the flavor of the tart. The apples were cooked to perfect softness and those charred tips of a few of the apple slices were the best! It was perfectly sweet, but not too sweet. A really good balance of all the different elements.

Well, that’s it, folks. All I can tell you is this crostata is great. I only just made it and I’m already thinking about making it again. And again.

Play Video

Cheddar Crust Apple Crostata

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Honey crisp apples are enveloped in a crust that is full of aged cheddar cheese. Then it is baked until the sugar on the apples and the edges of the crust has charred. That's where the flavor lies. It's really perfection. Trust me.

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  • Crust
  • 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

  • 10 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 10 slices

  • 70 grams (1 1/2 cups) aged cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

  • 1/3 cup ice water

  • Apple Filling
  • 4 large honey crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges approximately 1/8 inch thick

  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 tablespoon Sonomic Gold Almost Vinegar, divided, or stir together 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, and 1 teaspoon water

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted


  • Crust
  • Add the flour and salt to the bowl of your food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add the butter to the bowl and pulse a few times until the mixture is crumbly, with odd sized pieces of butter in the mix, being careful not to over process at this point. Add the cheese and ice water to he bowl. Process for about 5 seconds, just until the flour is moistened.
  • Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, just until the dough holds together. Pat into a 6 inch round disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  • Apple Filling
  • Preheat your oven to 400° with a rack in the center.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the apple slices, 2 teaspoons Sonomic Gold Almost Vinegar, 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. On a generously floured surface, roll out the dough into a 17 inch round. Place it in the lined sheet pan (the edges will hang over the sides of the pan). In a small bowl, stir together 25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Sprinkle it over the dough. Arrange the apples in tight overlapping concentric circles on the dough to within 2 inches of the edge, reserving the juices in the bottom of the bowl. Fold the dough over the apples, pleating the dough as you go along. No need to worry about it being perfect, as this is a rustic dessert.
  • Spoon on the reserved apple juices and brush the melted butter over the apples. Spray the crust with water and sprinkle both the apples and the crust with the remaining 25 grams (2 tablespoons of sugar). Refrigerate the galette for 20 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. It is important that the apples and crust take on deep golden brown color. Don’t be afraid of letting it actually char a little. That’s where the magic of the flavor lies.

12 Responses

  1. And here’s the finished product – although I had seriously thought about taking a pic of an empty plate! I’m not much of a baker and my apple arranging needs work – this is probably the third galette I’ve made in my life, but this was sooo good. The flavors were excellent and the crust was light and flaky. Thanks again!

    1. Indira, that is just beautiful!!! This is a rustic dessert, so there’s no need for perfect apple arranging. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you baked it until it took on deep color. I’m really thrilled you liked it so much. Thank you for letting me know and you are very welcome!

    1. Marcia, yes you could use mirin, but I’d mix it half and half with balsamic. You want a little kick from the acid in the balsamic.

  2. Apples and cheese are a favorite combination. This looked so wonderful and I just happened to have all the ingredients, so couldn’t resist making it NOW. It is currently resting in the fridge for 20 minutes before I pop it in the oven. Thank you, Renee!

    1. Oh, I hope you make it, Melissa! And I’m with you all the way on the Sonomic Gold. It is VERY good stuff!

    1. Yes, please!!!!! I so hope you’ll make it, Sherie. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to hear what you and Matt have to say about it!

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