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Do you know where your apples come from?

Recently I got to tour an Apple Farm and packing plant as a guest of Ontario Apples with 16 of bloggers from Food Bloggers of Canada.

Our first stop was at Lingwood farms. Run by Murray Porteous & Brett Schulyer we learned so much about Apple farming. Although the apples have already been picked, there is still a lot to talk about as these plants have to be protected over the winter. Since apple season is over, Thunder the family dog enjoys the crisp weather in Orchard. Due to strict Canadian regulations this adorable mutt would not have been allowed to run around the orchard during production season.

We got to play a guessing game with the apples which I failed miserably. The apples were crisp and delicious and Ambrosia and Honey Crisp were strong favorites.

We picked the apples randomly and I landed up with a Gala!

For lunch we were treated to a delicious Apple themed lunch at the Combine.

Next up was the processing tour at Norfolk Fruit Growers, led by Hayden Dooney. This facility is co owned by 9 farm families. I was surprised to learn that 97% of our Canadian farms are still family owned!

Once picked, these apples are stored in temperature controlled rooms, these are the prized honey crisps. We have the best chilled temperatures in Ontario for Honey Crisps but they are still difficult to grow, hence this small crop is taken very good care of.

The Norfolk growers are constantly optimizing the storage conditions by closely monitoring the fruit.

From storage after they are picked they are meticulously monitored in a Willy Wonka factory of apples. Apples by type are run through the processor 750, 000 apples per day! They run through the machines to be sorted by weight. They then run through a highway of apples where each apple is photographed 40 times in a state of the art control room.

Once they are sorted, they are ready for one final brush and then they float in a body of water that I like to call the ‘Applelantic’ that cleans the fruit. The apples, once dried, are packed and boxed and this is stored in another cool facility till they are ready to be shipped to the various stores.We ended our tour with tasting the official donut of the Norfolk area, the apple cider donuts.

You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Enjoy the bounty that Ontario offers and please, eat local

The Farmers of Norfolk County gave us a bushel of apples to take home and I decided to give this fruit the ultimate respect by pairing it with a flaky, buttery, cheesy pasty pie.

The pie dough a recipe I learned from George Brown culinary school has simple ingredients and the secret is to keep the dough very cold. The addition of Cheddar really enhances the taste of the sweet apples. Typically cinnamon is used in an apple pie but I left it out so it wouldn’t clash with the cheese in the pie crust. You could also use the same recipe to make a regular apple pie, just leave out the cheese and add a dash of cinnamon to the filling.

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Cheddar Crust Apple Pie


  • Pie Dough
  • 10 oz, 284 gms sifted all purpose flour
  • 4 oz, 113 gms grated butter
  • 120 ml ice cold water
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Filling
  • 4 – 5 apples (900 gms peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tbsp brown suger
  • 55gms, 2 oz, 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbsps Cornstarch
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • ¼ cup crushed Walnuts
  • Egg Wash


  1. Add the flour, baking powder and salt
  2. first followed by the butter and mix everything together till the flour is crumbly
  3. Add the cheese
  4. Add the water all at once and knead
  5. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 mins
  6. Heat the butter and sugar together and cool
  7. Peel, core and slice the apples and pour the cooled butter mixture, cornstarch, lemon juice and walnuts and mix
  8. Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger and roll it out till it’s about .5mm thick
  9. Butter your pie plate, and add the bottom of the pie crust and score it.
  10. Reroll the rest of the dough and cut leaf shapes out of it
  11. Pour in the apples
  12. Add the leaves over the apples and pinch them to connect and brush with beaten egg
  13. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes