I learned to make apple pie when I was in junior high. My mother, who is an excellent cook, has always insisted that she cannot make a decent pie crust. When I perfected my technique, my father and brothers were overjoyed! When my oldest brother was in college, he used to let me come stay with him for the weekend if I would bring him a pie.
Apple Pie has always been my father's favorite and while he enjoys mine very much, I have never baked one that quite matches up to his childhood memory of "Eddie Richard's Mother's Apple Pie." Oh, well. I'll just have to keep practicing!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have a baking stone, set it on the center rack.
Prepare the filling:
Pare, core and slice the apples between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick. Toss together in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside while you prepare the pastry.
Pastry for bottom crust:
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until you have a coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and toss with a fork until all the flour is moistened. Do not stir! Turn out onto a lightly-floured board and press together into a disc. Roll out into a circle about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your pie pan. Place pastry in prepared pan.
For the topping:
In a small bowl (I use the same one I used for the pastry; no need to wash it first), stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Toss in the cheese with your fingers.
Place the apple filling in the pastry-lined pie pan. Sprinkle on the topping, covering all the apples. Bake at 425 degrees (on the stone if you have one) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes until topping is golden and apples are tender when pierced. Cool on a wire rack. This allows air to circulate and prevents the bottom crust from getting soggy.