Ahhhh autumn. Fire pits… falling leaves… cozy nights and apples! Doesn’t fall just make you want to have apples? Candy apples at state fairs. Baked or made into applesauce served alongside roasted pork. And of course, in pies and spiced cakes for dessert.
We took our love of apples, paired with our salty ham… and threw in some bold cheddar cheese. A little bit savory and a little bit sweet, you can enjoy this “crusty cake” of French origin anytime. Lovely for breakfast or brunch…. but just as delightful for supper too. For those with picky little eaters, you may find this one to be kid-friendly as well. Apples and cheese in a “pie?” Who doesn’t love that… especially with little bits of tender country ham scattered about.
Enjoy just as it is, or add a simple side salad of greens lightly dressed for a quick fall meal, no matter what time of the day you enjoy!
Makes about 8 servings
1 box (2 crusts) refrigerated pie crust
5-6 medium baking apples, peeled and cored, cut in 1/4 slices*
(we used Golden Delicious and Gala)
4 tablespoons butter
1-12 ounce package Rays County Ham slices, cut into slivers
1 teaspoon pumpkin or apple pie spice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup maple syrup
several sprigs fresh thyme, divided
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon each white and brown sugar, combined
Sit crusts out 20 minutes to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Prepare apples and put in a bowl of water with a bit of citrus juice to prevent browning.
Heat butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook ham in butter for 3-4 minutes; remove from heat.
Drain apples and dab dry with paper towel.
Add spice, cornstarch, syrup and 2 tablespoons loosely packed chopped fresh thyme.
Pour sauteed ham and the drippings over apples and stir to coat the apples.
Roll crusts out side by side on a large sprayed baking pan to thin a bit. Scatter each crust with about 1/2 cup of grated cheddar and press into the soft dough.
Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the center of the 2 crusts. Tuck “pinches” of remaining grated cheese about the mound of apple and ham mixture (so you have ooey gooey pockets of melted cheese inside). Fold edges of crust up and pleat.
Brush the pleated part of the crust with egg wash. Lightly dust the wash with sugars.
Bake about 20 minutes. When the top is golden brown, loosely cover with foil and continue baking about 15 more minutes so the bottom will bake properly.
Garnish with fresh thyme springs, let cool briefly, slice and enjoy!
*We like to leave peel on half of the apples for a nice texture.
Suggested apples: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Honey Gold, Braeburn