Apple pie reaches new depths of deliciousness when baked in an oven-proof bowl. Crust-lovers beware: this recipe is all about the filling.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small mixing bowl.
In skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 apples, 1/3 sugar mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Saute until apples are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, measure 2 tablespoons Calvados into cup, add to skillet; return to heat, and cook 3 minutes. Calvados may ignite; proceed with caution until alcohol burns off, about 30 seconds. Add 3 tablespoons cream; cook, stirring, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Repeat step in two batches with remaining apples.
On lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee 1/8 inch thick. Measure diameter of ovenproof bowl (we used a bowl eight inches wide and six inches deep), and roll dough out to extend sides by three inches all the way around. In center of dough, punch hole with number 4 plain pastry tip or 1/4 inch tip.
Place apple mixture in ovenproof bowl; drape rolled-out pastry on top, centering hole. Allow edge of pastry to overhang sides of bowl. Trim edges to create a scalloped edge. Decorate top with excess dough using cold water to adhere.
Mix egg yolk and remaining tablespoon cream; brush onto pie. Chill for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. When top becomes golden brown, loosely drape piece of foil over top to prevent further browning; continue to bake until pie bubbles. Cool on wire rack, 45 to 60 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with cheddar if desired.
You will need to use an ovenproof bowl to bake this pie. Most bowls indicate on the bottom if they are.
Calvados can be replaced with regular brandy.