where you’re from, the idea of cheddar on apple pie either is shocking or right as rain. If you ask us, apple
pie without cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze. To the skeptics out
there, hear us out: cheddar and apple is a universally beloved pairing. It’s the ideal salty-sweet combo, on par with peanut butter pretzels
and salted caramel.
Why not take it one step further with a flaky pie crust and
some extra sugar and spice? In this guide we’ll break down the history behind
the tradition of cheddar on apple pie and share some of our favorite Wisconsin
Cheese-inspired ways to combine cheddar and apples.
The Story of Apple Pie and Cheddar
The story of apple pie and cheddar goes back
centuries. In fact, you can find mentions of apple pies adorned with cheddar
cheese dating back to 17th century England! There are several ideas
for how this delicious, yet controversial, trend started. Back in the 1700s, it
was quite common to top pies with a dairy-based custard. Naturally, other dairy
products like cheese followed.
It’s also likely that the apples our ancestors
had available weren’t quite as sweet as modern varieties, meaning that their
apple pies may have skewed more towards savory. Once the apple pie and cheddar
combo made its way to the U.S. with the first European settlers, it was here to
stay. Today, the tradition remains alive—particularly in some regions of the
U.S. like New England, the Midwest, and of course, Wisconsin.
How to Pair Apple Pie with Cheddar
Why do you put cheddar cheese on
the uninitiated, we totally understand your natural skeptisim. Think of it this
way: apple pie is sweet and sugary while cheddar is salty and savory—a naturally
perfect salty-sweet combo. You can bake cheddar into the crust, or serve it on
top of a freshly baked slice. Either way, you’ll probably have that ah-hah
moment where you finally appreciate why some people can’t get enough of this pairing.
What kind of cheddar goes well with
Aged varieties of cheddar are the most common pairing with
apple pie, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pair milder varieties of cheddar
too! Aged cheddars have a stronger, saltier flavor compared to young cheddar,
giving it a stronger contrast against a syrupy sweet bite of apple pie.
4 Wisconsin Cheddars to Pair with
Hook’s 10-Year Aged Cheddar: This legendary Wisconsin cheddar
made by Hook’s Cheese in Mineral Point is a must-try for any cheese lover. Cheesemakers
Tony and Julie Hook age this award-winning variety of cheddar for 10 whole years—but
good things come to those who wait!
The aging process gives this cheddar a dense texture with plenty of
crunchy tyrosine crystals that turn each bite into a deliciously unique
experience. This cheddar’s naturally tangy yet savory flavor makes it a perfect
topping for any apple pie.
Widmer’s 8-Year Aged Cheddar: Made by legendary Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer, Widmer’s aged cheddar is a textbook example of a cheese done very
right. Loaded with rich, nutty, and complex flavor, you can actually taste
the love that goes into this hand-made cheese. The richness of this cheddar is
the ideal companion to the light acidity from the apples in pie.
Renard’s Apple Harvest Cheddar: If you’re looking for a creative cheese
to top your apple pie, look no further than this apple and cinnamon flavored cheddar
from Renard’s Cheese. The inspiration for this cheese comes from
Wisconsin’s Door County, where Renard’s Cheese is headquartered.
Door Countyis famous for its beautiful,
rolling green hills that are home to countless apple orchards. A visit to Door
County (and Renard’s Cheese) should be on everyone’s bucket list—just like this
cheese should be on your grocery list.
Deer Creek’s The Doe: Deer Creek crafted an artisan cheddar that strikes a delicate
balance between sweet and savory. The Doe is a bandaged-wrapped cheddar marbled
with Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean, resulting in a lightly perfumed and
When you top a homemade apple pie with this cheddar, you might
not even need to add vanilla extract to your apple filling! Just make sure to
buy more than you need—you’ll want to have leftover cheddar on hand to
appreciate on its own. Trust us!
Our Favorite Cheddar and Apple Pie
Cheddar Apple Pie Bars
Featuring Hook’s One Year Sharp Cheddar, this simple and quick recipe
has all the flavor of a perfectly baked apple pie without any of the fuss.
These bars are the perfect dish to bring to a fall potluck or dinner party.
(Fair warning: We’re pretty sure you’ll have guests asking you for the recipe
at the end of the night.) For these salty-sweet autumnal bars, we mix the
cheddar directly into the crust before baking—but you can always sprinkle extra
cheddar on top. After all, there’s no such thing as too much cheese!
Get the full
recipe for our Cheddar Apple Pie Bars here.
Cinnamon Apple Pie Cheddar Galette
What’s a galette, you might ask? A galette is a rustic
alternative to pie, baked freeform on a baking sheet. With a galette, you can
say goodbye to time spent crimping or blind baking your pie crust. It’s all the
texture of a pie without the work!
For our apple galette, we combine tart,
fresh apples with apple and cinnamon infused cheddar cheese. Then we top it
with cranberries for even more fall flavor and pops of color. Each bite is a
celebration of autumn and the holiday season, and it’s bursting with complex
flavor that is sure to impress.
Get the full
recipe for our Cinnamon Apple Pie Cheddar Galette here.
Whether you love it or have yet to try it, we hope you
learned a thing or two about the history of cheddar on apple pie! If this deep
dive into cheesy history has worked up an appetite, check out our selection of over 400 handcrafted recipes
featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Get inspiration from our Instagram feed or our Facebook page.
Searching high and low for that one Wisconsin Cheese
with no luck? You can get all your favorite Wisconsin Cheeses delivered right
to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers
that allow you to order cheese
Award-winning Wisconsin Cheese is just a click away.
Is serving apple pie without cheese
This popular urban legend claims
that restaurants in Wisconsin are required to serve apple pie with cheese on
top. Unfortunately for the cheddar lovers out there, this isn’t true! This myth
can be traced back to 1935, when Wisconsin lawmakers—to support the dairy
industry—passed a requirement that restaurants serve a negligible amount of
cheese and butter with certain meals. However, this law expired just two years
later in 1937.