Kid-Friendly Savory Apple Pie, two ways
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We are welcoming you all back to the Z Wraps kitchen to share another meal together! This time, we are featuring two takes on a savory apple pie. “Savory apple pie??” you say, “That’s not what I think of when I hear apple pie.” It’s true: apple pie, in American culture, is usually prepared sweet and served as a dessert (or breakfast...we know you’re out there)!
This twist on apple pie brings a whole lot of savory to the table, and we'll show you how to make it two ways: a rustic-style galette, and mini pies. Plus, the recipe is so easy that your kids might actually be able to help you with it, or even do most of it themselves! Please remember to always supervise children of any age around sharp kitchen instruments and hot stoves or ovens.
We know you are probably home with your little ones and running out of ideas for things to do. This recipe is a great kid-friendly kitchen exploration! Depending on your children’s ages and maturity, they can probably help a lot (or “help” a lot and really enjoy it). Kids can be involved at all points in the process. Here are some ideas we had about ways to make this meal a family activity for the kids. Perhaps your children can:
- Help gather ingredients
- Wash produce
- Roll out the pie crust
- Measure and make the buttermilk
- Strip the thyme leaves
- Butter a pan
- Set the mise en place/set up the cooking equipment
- Create a design with the apples
- Set a pretty table / add some “ambiance” (Ever ask an 8-year old to show you what they think is ambiance? You will laugh!)
- Create a pretend restaurant experience-- go ahead and go all-in with aprons, waitstaff, menus, a host or maitre-d’, even a silly curly “chef” mustache. The great thing about eyeliner or magic marker is that it washes off.
- Cut up scraps into small pieces for your compost (Crayola safety scissors can do this!)
- Wrap and store leftovers
- Wash, rinse, and hang Z Wraps in cool water
- Search it up for a recipe to use up any remaining ingredients (you might have some extra buttermilk, for which we suggest pancakes!)
The ingredients below will make both versions; if you’re making only one (either galette or mini’s), you will only need half the ingredients. We recommend making two, simply because once you’re there it’s really easy.
- 2, 9” pie crust: if frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight and bring to room temp when preparing
- 4 apples: ideally 2 red and 2 Granny Smith
- 1 large or 2 medium onions
- Thyme leaves, fresh or dried
- Cheddar Cheese: block or slices, sharpness up to you, we like Extra Sharp!
- 2C Buttermilk** (see note)
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- Nutmeg, ground (optional)
- A baking sheet and/or 6-cup muffin tin
- Slice up the onion into nice thin slices. Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat, add the onions, and stir well to coat. Give a generous pinch of salt. Slowly caramelize the onions, stirring frequently to avoid browning or burning them. If you prefer instead, sauté the onions until they are very soft and translucent, then hit them with a quick, careful drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar’s acidity will quickly evaporate, and the balsamic will leave a sweetness similar to caramelized onions. We 100% endorse adding balsamic to your caramelized onions, too.
- If making buttermilk, combine lemon juice and milk now and let sit.
- Roll out pie crust to about 9” and an even thickness. You can always sprinkle a little flour on a Large Z Wrap and use it as your rolling surface for easier clean-up and a no-slide countertop grip.
- Butter your baking sheet and lay the crust on it flat.
- Wash the apples and cut in half; remove the cores/seeds. Slice apples (in halves or quarters) about ¼” thick, but don’t sweat perfect slices. Mostly even will be great. For little apple scraps, you can munch them or chop ‘em up small.
- Preheat the oven to 425 (or the temperature your pie crust indicates). At this point, your onions should be done and your buttermilk rested.
- Wash a small handful of thyme if using fresh, and chop or strip the leaves. Set aside. Slice some cheddar, about ¼” thick, sized similarly to your apple slices. We used the block’s rectangular shape and also cut in half for small squares. No stress.
- Assemble your galette! Leaving about 1.5” of crust all around the edge, spread about 4-5 tablespoon of buttermilk in the center, like you would sauce a pizza. Lightly sprinkle some nutmeg across the entire crust if you like.
- Then, add the apple slices. You can stand them on edge or lay them down like dragon scales. Try alternating red and green or making a design with the colors!
- Layer into your apples some slices of cheddar. We used ½ a block for the two pies we made, so don’t feel like you need to have a slice of cheese between each apple piece. 3:1 apples to cheese is a good place to start; adjust to your taste.
- Once you fill your crust area, top the apples+cheese with a few slices more cheese. Add onions on the top (or under the cheese, your choice!).
- Fold up the pie crust edge about 1” at a time all the way around the galette. Perfect circles are not necessary. If it needs a little help to stick, moisten with a little buttermilk or try scoring with a fork.
- Pour about 1/4C of buttermilk over the inside of the sealed-up galette. Sprinkle thyme over the top. Brush the exposed crust with a smudge of butter if you’re feeling decadent.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly, apples are soft, and crust is golden brown. Depending on your oven, you may benefit from a quick finish under the broiler or the use of a pie shield around the edge.
Follow the same instructions above, except use a well-buttered muffin tin. One 9” pie crust will be able to be divided to cover 6 standard size muffins. Press the crust into each cup, and put half a slice of cheese in the bottom. Add the apples, onions, and 1 slice of cheese cut in half (2 squares) to the top. Sprinkle thyme, add 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk to each muffin cup. Bake for about the same amount of time. Let cool and remove from the tin using a dull butter knife or a toothpick to separate any places where some crispy delicious cheese is hanging on too tight to the tin.
Fun Twists & Variations
A few fun possible twists for the daring or culinarily adventurous:
- Try creme fraiche instead of buttermilk;
- Add or omit the nutmeg;
- Try with different fruit and cheese combos: Pear and gorgonzola? Peaches and burrata (maybe with basil)? Green apple and smoked gouda? Blueberries, lemon zest, and goat cheese? The options are endless.
- Perhaps a crispy fried onion instead of caramelized! Start with the same cut, toss the little pieces in flour, fry them crispy in olive oil or butter; drain on a napkin before adding.
- Cinnamon-sugar sprinkle on the exposed crust for an amplified sweet - savory dynamic
- Smash some roasted garlic with some chopped rosemary and spread a spoonful of delicious under the apples;
- Take the galette idea and use it as a springboard for more regional and seasonal variations - what about an asparagus, lemon, garlic, and parmesan version? Zucchini and summer squash with ricotta and basil?