It might be unseasonably mild in the UK for January, but these interminably dank, grey days still lead my body and mind to craving wholesome, hearty, warming dishes. Puddings and pastries in particular are at the top of my wish list, and what could be more wholesomely tempting than a slice of hot apple pie smothered in cream?
But have you ever tried Cheddar in your sweet apple pie? Of course, apples and cheese are a match made in heaven – but in a dessert? When Somerset-based Wyke Farms got in touch to see if I’d like to try out some of their recipes, I was immediately drawn to their Cheddar and apple pie, although on first glance assumed it would be a savoury affair. I was intrigued to discover it was actually a pudding. I just had to give it a try.
And it works an absolute treat. It’s not overly sweet, but the tasty Cheddar and soft apples encased in indulgently buttery pastry make for a deliciously mellow and comforting combination, and one which all my family tucked into greedily. I also rather enjoyed a slice served cold next day for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yoghurt…
Cheddar and apple rough puff pie
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g cold, salted butter (I used Wyke Farms Farmhouse Butter)
100g mature Cheddar cheese (I used Wyke Farms Mature Cheddar)
120ml cold water
For the filling:
1 unwaxed lemon
1kg cooking apples
25g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g unrefined caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated (I used Wyke Farms Mature Cheddar)
1 egg, beaten with a little milk
Place the flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour. Roughly rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers, leaving some larger pieces. This will give the pastry a lovely, flaky texture.
Stir in the Cheddar and then the water. Bind everything together and knead gently to form a soft ball. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When the pastry is ready, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 8.
Grate the zest from the lemon and set aside.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon and pour into a large bowl filled with water.
Peel and slice the apples, putting them into the lemon water as you do to stop them from browning.
Once all the apples are done, drain them in a colander and leave to dry for a few minutes.
Roll out the dough on a piece of floured, non-stick baking parchment into a rough, 30cm round.
Blitz the breadcrumbs and walnuts in a food processor to a coarse crumb. Sprinkle this over the centre of the pastry. This will prevent the apples making the pastry soggy.
Add the cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest to the apples and mix together well. Arrange these on top of the breadcrumb mix. Sprinkle over the grated Cheddar.
Fold up the pastry over the apples, about a third of the way up, all the way round the pie to form the crust.
Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the extra sugar.
Slide the pie onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 180°C/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Serve warm with cream or custard.
Disclosure: Wyke Farms supplied this recipe for me to test out, along with samples of their cheese and butter with which to make it. No money exchanged hands and as always all views expressed are my own.