“An apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze” — or so goes the saying from the Central Leatherstocking region of New York State. This oddly named and eminently quotable area (home to the Baseball Hall of Fame) was also the setting for James Fenimore Cooper’s series of books that includes The Last of the Mohicans. These stories of the frontier were collectively called The Leatherstocking Tales, named for the deerskin garment early settlers donned over their linen pants to protect them from the underbrush and brambles. High above those nasty brambles were plenty of fruit-laden apple trees, from which the local women made their pies.
Today, New York State produces more than 25 million bushels of apples—and more varieties than any other apple-growing region. New York State is also home of the world’s first cheese factory and is the third largest cheese producer in the country. It makes perfect sense, then, to combine these two meant-to-be-together foods–cheese and fruit–in one irresistible package. And while those first Apple Cheddar Pies may have been made with fruit picked 15 minutes ago and cheese from the baker’s own cows, the pies we make today can be every bit as good. The version below can be made in a mere 15 minutes of work, thanks to ready made pie crusts . . . and the fact that we don’t have to light a fire to heat our ovens. Just don’t forget the cheese.
—By Marge Perry