carmelized sweet-potato and apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese in a rosemary-buttermilk crust

I’ve been making pie for three days straight trying to get this recipe right, you guys.

First there was the crust. Measurements were off, I overworked the dough and it went flat, too salty, etc . . .

Then once I got the crust right, the filling was wrong. I tried grading the sweet potatoes with the chopped apples but the texture was way off. Plus sweet potatoes are more dense than apples so they cook unevenly. Nasty.


 I am so excited about this pie.
It’s just a pie, I know, but in my dream world, when I open a pie shop and farmer’s market, this pie will be on the short and selective menu. That’s how good it is.

Close your eyes for a minute and I’ll take you there. . .

The glass door swings wide and a small brass bell jingles over your head as you cross the threshold. Someone across the room greets you with a smile—a wave maybe—and you instantly feel at home. Your people come here.

The floors are rough planks, comfortable and unpretentious, but the handful of tables are flung with white table cloths. Fresh. Like white linen on laundry day. Rustic chandeliers hang from the pressed-tin ceiling and the generous front windows spill sunshine across the spacious room.

But the smell of the place is what sticks with you. Baked goods. Like Grandma’s kitchen—or maybe your aunt’s. Fresh berry and fruit pies wait under the long glass counter and a chalkboard menu against one of the raw-brick walls assures you the variety isn’t lacking. Three stand out: Rhubarb and current pie with cardamon. Custard pear and raspberry. Caramelized Sweet-Potato Apple with Sharp Cheddar in a Rosemary-Buttermilk crust. You’ll have to think on it. Decisions are hard . . .

Every pie here is made from scratch, the crust mixed up with butter and buttermilk from local dairy farmer’s bounty. The fruit, herbs, and produce that fill the crusts are local and seasonal, and you wonder for a moment if maybe you can just live here. Eat pie forever. The oversized leather chairs in the corner windows would be fine. Add a book, a cup of coffee, and you’ll be just fine, thank you very much . . .
You decide on the Caramelized Sweet-Potato Apple with Sharp Cheddar in a Rosemary-Buttermilk crust. Almost like lunch, right? Pie for lunch. Totally legit. 

Okay. Open your eyes.
I promise to serve your pie warm when you arrive. 🙂 In the mean time, here’s the recipe so you can make your own.



Let’s start with the crust. I used the Buttermilk Pie Crust recipe from my last post with the addition of:
1 teaspoon dried and crushed rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon savory herb blend (basil/oregano/onion/thyme)

Mix up two crusts and refrigerate while you work on the filling.

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
6 pie apples (Grannysmith work great!) peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a flat-bottom pan and brown sweet potatoes until they begin to soften. Add apples and cook, covered, for a couple minutes. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, and salt to the pan and mix until the spices and sugar are well incorporated. Remove pan from heat and transfer the filling to a large mixing bowl. Add flour and mix well until juices thicken. Set aside and allow to cool a bit.

Roll out the bottom crust and press it into your pie plate.
Add cheese to the slightly-cooled fruit, spice, and apple mixture and stir until ingredients are well-mixed. Fill the prepared bottom crust with the fruit and potatoes, roll out the top crust and fit it to the top of your pie. Press the top and bottom edges together and then crimp. Poke a hole in the top crust to vent, and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned over the top.
Allow to cool a bit before cutting—this will help the juices re-incorporate into the filling.

perfect pie crust


I always dreamed of entering a pie in the county fair and winning blue.
Silly, but it seems like one of those homemaker kinds of things my grandmother would have done and, no lie, I dream of being like her. She was an amazing woman. But her pies, though most likely blue-ribbon, were difficult. My grandma was a cold-lard-cut-into-her-flour pastry kind of woman, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that. Also, gross. Tiny bit.
I do things a little differently, but cross my heart, this pastry recipe is FAIL PROOF. Even for the most reticent of pie-crust makers. Trust me on this, okay? It’s simple. No lard or ‘cutting in” involved. And I think, despite my divergence from tradition, grandma would approve.


The apple filling recipe is pretty basic: 5-6 apples, peeled, sliced and chopped into bite size pieces. Mix them in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Set them aside.

1  3/4 Cup flour + 2 tablespoons (or as needed should the dough be too moist).
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil


Mix all four ingreedients together until a ball of dough forms. It will be perfect when it pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Divide it in half—one half will be used for the top crust and the other for the bottom.


Take the first ball of dough and lay it between two sheets of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is roughly 5-6 inches wider than the pie plate you intend to use, all the way around.


Gently peel back the top layer of wax paper


Lift the dough, still attached to the bottom layer of wax paper and in a single fluid motion, flip it over and onto the pie plate, dough side down. Then gently peel back the bottom layer of wax paper, which is now on the top of the dough in the same way you would remove a sticker from it’s backing.


The dough will be elastic enough to handle without too much fear of tearing. Settle it into the pie plate and smooth out any wrinkles until it lays evenly. Make sure there is enough excess dough hanging off the edges of the plate to crimp with the top crust.


Now the pie-in-process is ready for the filling. Take the apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and sugar mixture and dump it into the prepared crust, tucking it down and evening it out with a spatula. You’ll want to be careful not to damage the bottom crust as the filling could leak out while it bakes.


And now for the top crust! Using the same technique as with the bottom crust, roll your second ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper. You can reuse the same paper you used before. It’s perfectly good for several pies, if you so choose. Once the top crust is draped over the plate, use the palms of your hands to press firmly against either side of the pie plate while turning it gently. In this way the excess dough will be trimmed from the edges.


Remove the trimmed edges and set aside. You can either toss the excess dough or you can save it and make pie-crust cookies*.

Once the excess dough has been removed, you will need to crimp the edges of your top and bottom crusts together. This keeps the filling from leaking out of the pie while it bakes. There are lots of ways to crimp the edges of a pie, but my old standby is the simple pinch method. Using your thumb and first finger, push the edges of the dough together with the first finger on your other hand creating a sort of ripple effect.


Ignore my scary alien hands. Ahem.

Once the edges are crimped around the whole pie, you can cut a hole in the top for steam to escape while the pie bakes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is nice and bubbly.