Sunday, October 25, 2009

"An apple pie without some cheese is like a hug without a squeeze!"

Here are some of the ingredients for a Lancashire Apple Pie that I made for Great Maine Apple Day which was, admittedly, yesterday October 24th...BUT maybe I bought my apples yesterday and I am continuing the celebration today?? Possible right?

Here is the list of Maine ingredients: 

Apples...Blue Pearmain, Fireside and Winesap...don't know the orchard names, sorry! 

Organic apple cider from The Apple Farm, Fairfield, Maine

Kate's Butter, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Sonnental Dairy raw milk cheese, Buggy Whip extra sharp cheddar, Smyrna, Maine

Egg yolk, Bowden's, Waldoboro

anything else is from out of state

THE RECIPE, from a very old issue of the best magazine in the universe...British Country basically a Brit version of the French tarte tatin, an upside down apple tart... made with a cheese pastry crust for a delicious counterpoint...ta dah!! 

Pie filling:
1 1/4 lbs assorted sweet and tart, hard, preferably local, apples cut into slices

finely grated zest of one lemon, preferably Meyer

2 oz butter

2 oz sugar

4 fl oz apple cider (apple juice for Brits!)

6 oz white, unbleached flour

3 oz butter

3 oz freshly grated hard cheese of your choice...I like extra sharp cheddar but you can use whatever you think your tastebuds would like so long as it is of a similar texture and hardness to cheddar.

pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter...say it with me “I always use salted butter cos I like the taste”

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water

1 tablespoon of sugar

(For US/UK weight conversions etc please visit Sue Pallett's website where all will be revealed)

Make the pastry first so it can rest for a while in the fridgerdator...that’s what I call it and I’m sticking to it!

1. Sift flour, salt, sugar together and then blend in the butter until the mix resembles ground almonds...I really like the process of baking so I do everything by hand...if you are not doing it in a processor I suggest putting the butter in the freezer for a while before you start making the pastry and then grate the butter into the flour mix so there is less hand working and the pastry doesn’t warm want to keep it as cold as possible.

2. Stir in the grated cheese.

3. Then stir in the egg/water and gently bind together with your hands.....basically just very gently squush it together until it forms a ball...

4. Wrap, I don't like plastic wrap so I wrap mine in parchment paper, the ball of dough and put it in the fridgerdator for at least an hour - the longer the better - the colder it gets the better the flakiness.

Assemble the filling:
1. Grease heartily a 8-81/2" glass pie dish with lovely butter.

2. Peel, core and slice the apples...I do all this in a bowl of cold, lemoned water so the apples don’t turn brown before I use them, I keep the slices in the lemon water 'til I need them and then drain them before use and shake out in a colander so they aren’t watery.

3. Melt butter, sugar and apple cider in a pan together and heat til bubbling...reduce by about 2/3 thirds 'til it is nice and syrupy.

4. Cool syrup somewhat then pour into the base of the pie dish.

5. Pile in the apples somewhat evenly and press down...they shouldn’t be too high....

6. Roll out the cooled pastry to a circle just bigger then your pie dish and lay over the apples.

7. Press down on the apples and even up the edge...poke holes in the top to let out the steam and keep the pastry crisp.

8. Bake on a lipped case the juices flow a 400F oven for about 40 minutes until the pastry is evenly browned and glorious.

I used a glass pie dish so I could see how the apples were...they did look like there was a lot of juice bubbling in there but it didn’t turn out to be so much in the end, I think the heat made it expand and look like more than it actually was.

9.THE TRICKY PART, where it can all go awry!!
Let the pie cool for a while...I left it about 15 minutes, then put an appropriately large enough plate over the pastry, take a deep breath and invert the pie onto the plate...I was very happy mine came out very easily and looked quite nice, I have seen Joolia do this and the whole thing feel apart all over the place...I think it depends on how your apples stand up to the pressure..if they are fluffy, mushy apples they’ll just turn to apple sauce, that’s why you need to start with nice, crispy hard varieties.
The pie fresh from the oven...
The pie sliced and served naked...really it is kind of an apple pizza isn't it? The apples were perfectly cooked, retained their tang and shape, were nicely sweet and a great complement to the very cheesy, savoury and crumbly crust.
Do give it a try...and here for autumn is a poem to contemplate whilst you eat your
Lancashire Apple Pie

John Keats (1785-1821)

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o’erbrimme’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while they hook
Spares the next swath and all its twin-ed flower;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with a patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the sounds of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, - thou hast thy music too,
While barr-ed clouds bloom the soft dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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