Smoked Cheddar Apple Pie with Smoked Glazed Pecans
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese
2 C. pecans
6 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese; softened
1 C. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
4 lbs. Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Unbaked crust for 1 large deep-dish pie
Preheat smoker to 175°F with 2 oz. apple wood.
Place the cheese directly on the top rack of the smoker. Place the pecans in a disposable aluminum pan and place on the bottom rack. Fill another disposable pan with ice and place on the cold smoke baffle on the bottom rack. When you see smoke coming out the vent hole in a steady stream, turn off the smoker.
After 1 hour, taste a pecan to see if it needs more smoke flavor. If so, repeat the cold-smoking process. Thinly slice the cheddar cheese.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Put the smoked pecans on a baking sheet and toss with the honey and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly toasted. When cool, chop 1 1/2 C. of the pecans and set aside the remaining whole nuts. Leave the oven on.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/2 C. of the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.
In another bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 C. of sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, flour, the remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss in the apples and chopped nuts and allow to rest for about 15 minutes. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of pie crust. Cover with a layer of sliced smoked cheddar, and top with a layer of the apple mixture. Repeat with layers of the cheddar and apple mixture until the crust is very full (the filling will decrease in height as it bakes.)
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the apple mixture is bubbly. Garnish with the whole glazed pecans. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.