Cheddar Apple Tart

When I was about 8 years old, my three older siblings would go to music lessons on a Thursday night and my three younger siblings would go to bed. It was the perfect opportunity for myself and my mother to spend quality time together in what was a very busy house. She would make a big pot of tea and bring it down to the living room with toast, apple slices and cheese. I remember sitting on the couch looking at the flames of the fire and the sparks as it collapsed upon itself listening to her boiling the kettle and making the toast. We would chat away eating our tea and assembling our cheese and apple sandwiches. I just loved these nights together. A cheese and apple sandwich is now my go to quick fix supper.

But cheese and apple were paired up long before my own childhood. Surprisingly, a wedge of cheese was traditionally served alongside apple tart before the availability of freshly whipped cream. It originated in 17th century England where a wedge of creamy wensleydale would be served with apple tart in Yorkshire. Settlers in the American Midwest and New England chose to use a sharp cheddar instead to balance out the sweetness of their pies and so the tradition took hold.
There is a 19th century saying that states ‘An apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze’ and once you bake this delicious tart you’ll understand.
This is a twist on the classic apple tart. The pastry is made with sharp mature cheddar cheese whilst the filling is the traditional apple with cinnamon, clove and brown sugar. A surprising yet delicious combination.
This recipe has been created in support of #cheesecopenhagen taking place this weekend as part of the European Milk Forum’s 2019 Cheese Culture campaign which is being implemented locally in Ireland by the National Dairy Council to encourage Irish consumers to eat more quality cheese from Europe. #cheeseyourway #ad

Cheddar and Apple Tart
Serves 8

150g cold butter, cubed
240g plain flour
90g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1.4kg apples, I used ½ bramley and ½ pink lady
50g soft brown sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Mixed spice
1 pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp. Cornflour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the flour, butter and cheese into the bowl of a food processor and blitz well. Add the egg and blitz till it clumps together to form a dough. Tip onto a floured work surface and pat the dough into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film or paper and place in the fridge to rest.
Meanwhile peel the apples and slice them thinly. Place in a large bowl. Sieve the cornflour and spices over the apple. Add the brown sugar and stir well till the apple slices are coated evenly.
Dust your work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to fit a 12” tart tin. Use ⅔ of the pastry to line the tin. Add the apples and all of the liquid in the bowl. Roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash to seal the lid on. Use a sharp knife to cut some slits in the top. Brush with egg wash and scatter with 1 tsp brown sugar.
Bake for 60-65 minutes until golden and the filling is bubbling out.

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