Saturday, 9 November 2013

apple pie with cheddar cheese crust

I love apple pie. Short, rich pastry encasing sweet, soft apples flavoured with cinnamon - what's not to love? I've been hearing a lot about cheese incorporated into the pastry crust of an apple pie quite a lot recently, and whilst it sounds a little weird at first there was something about the combination that seemed to make sense. You can experiment with any kind of cheese but I decided on that for my first attempt I would try a medium mature cheddar.  This pie is delicious with a drizzle of cream, custard or a good dollop of ice cream.

For the pastry:
225g plain (all purpose) flour
100g softened butter
75g grated cheddar
3-4 tbsp ice cold water

For the filling:
5-6 eating apples (such as golden delicious, granny smith, jazz) peeled, cored and finely sliced
6 tbsp soft brown sugar (adjust this to your own taste)
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp cornflour, regular flour or semolina
  1. Start by making the pastry. Combine the butter and flour in a large bowl and rub between your finger tips until everything is combined and is the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively you can pulse the two together in a food processor until you have achieved the same consistency.
  2. Add all the cheese and a couple of tablespoons of the water and bring together the breadcrumbs until a rough dough ball is formed. You may need to add some extra water or not as much. Be guided by the consistency you achieve, just remember you want to handle and work the pastry as little as possible to make sure it retains its short, crumbly texture when cooked. Cover the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  3. Once the pastry has rested, pre-heat your oven to 220C. Next put the sliced apples, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix together until the apple is thoroughly coated in everything.
  4. Cut off a third of the pastry and set aside for the lid. With the remaining two thirds roll it out thinly so that it is large enough to line the base of your pie dish. Alternatively you can coarsely grate the pastry into the pie dish and push together the pieces to form the base. 
  5. Sprinkle the cornflour over the base (this will help to avoid a soggy bottom on your pie) then spread the apple mixture over the top. 
  6. Roll out the pastry for you lid then carefully place it over the filling. Crimp together the edges and cut a hole in the top to allow steam from the filling to escape. You can use beaten egg on the rim of the pastry to help it join together if you like but I didn't find it was needed. 
  7. Brush the top with beaten egg or milk if you want a golden, shiny top then place the pie in the oven. Cook at 220C for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 190C and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven when it's done and leave it to cool for 20 minutes or so before eating.

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