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I can't eat gluten so I’m always searching for ways to make the best parts of pies — the filling — without a pie crust. Through trial and error, I have found a few recipes that have allowed me to enjoy the fruits of my labor without sacrificing taste or texture.
Growing up, I loved apple pie a la mode (prior to discovering my gluten sensitivity, of course). However, some of the best pieces of apple pie that I have ever eaten have replaced that scoop of vanilla ice cream with an ingredient that initially perplexed me — cheddar cheese. Once I bit into a piece of apple pie covered with gooey cheddar cheese, all of my hesitation melted away. The sweet and savory flavors complemented each other perfectly, and I was hooked.
So, once I decided to do away with pie crust, I knew I would have to incorporate cheddar cheese somehow in my crustless apple pie recipe. The cheddar acts as a perfect vehicle for the apples, which in turn melt the cheese to the right consistency. This sweet and savory dessert makes for the perfect fall treat at any dinner table.
When it comes to the spices I use with my apples, you will find the usual fall flavors like cinnamon and ginger. However, my heritage does come out with the inclusion of a favorite in Indian desserts — cardamom. Of course, you can feel free to customize the spices to your own palate.
- 2 medium apples (I prefer Granny Smith, but any kind should work)
- 2 tbsp. of butter
- 1½ tbsp. of sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)
- ½ tsp. of cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. of ginger
- ½ tsp. of cardamom
- 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded (I prefer sharp cheddar)
- Slice the apples into small to medium chunks, about the size of the top of your thumb above the knuckle. I like to leave the skin on, but you can peel the apples before you slice them if you prefer.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
- Add the apples to the butter, tossing them to make sure each slice gets equally coated.
- Cover the apples with the sugar. Toss the slices once again to make they’re equally coated.
- Once the butter and apples begin to brown and everything begins to caramelize, add the spices. Make sure to once again toss the slices to make sure that each piece is equally coated in each of the spices.
- While the apples are still caramelizing, cover the bottom of a plate with the cheddar cheese. Make sure it is spread evenly into a layer on the plate. This will be the bed for your apples.
- Once the apples have caramelized, meaning the butter and sugar have combined into a thick brown syrup and the apple slices have browned, cook until the slices are softened to your liking. Then, remove the pan from heat and immediately transfer the apples onto the plate atop the cheddar cheese. The cheese should begin to melt. If desired, you can add more cheese on top. Once the apples have cooled slightly, they are ready to eat.