Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumnal Equinox Means Pie Time; Kentish Apple and Cheese Pie

It's the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, and to me, that means it's time for soups, stews, braises, and all things related to apples and baking. It's pie time, boys and girls. I've a pot of split pea soup simmering on the stove for supper, and a bunch of apples waiting to be transformed into something yummy. Maybe they'll go into a pie, like this one from Favourite Kentish Recipes:
Kentish Apple and Cheese Pie

6 oz. puff or shortcrust pastry
1 1/2 lbs. cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
3-4 oz. granulated sugar
3-4 cloves
Small pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 tea cup of water
4 oz. hard cheese, sliced

Set oven to 425°F or Mark 7. Using half the apples, put a layer into a greased 8 inch (approx.) pie dish. Sprinkle half the sugar over the apples. Lay the remaining apples on top and push the cloves into some of the apple slices. Add the remaining sugar, the nutmeg and the water and make a final layer with the cheese. Roll out the pastry and use it to cover the dish. Brush with a little milk and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Oh, yes. Bake that cheese right into that pie!

This pie steps neatly around the issue of how to get a non-soggy bottom crust: omit it entirely. Yes, you'll be scooping more than slicing the pie, but it's still going to taste good, and you can savor all the buttery (or lardy) goodness of your top crust with extra abandon.

I'd experiment with other liquids to pour in. Apple juice, or cider (hard or not). Pear nectar. Crisp white wine. Something that brings some flavor to the party. I'm also tempted to use ground cloves, so no one has to navigate around a whole clove in their slice/scoop of pie.


  1. I vote for mulled wine as the liquid, because mulled wine is the only way to get around the fact that the Christmas chocolates have been appearing in the shops already. Also, it's delicious.

  2. It is completely and utterly wrong that Christmas chocolates should be in the shops at/before the frickin' autumnal equinox.

    But the mulled wine idea has potential.

    Or mead.

  3. I know. I feel like there are at least two buffer commercial holidays that have been overrun by the Leviathan O'Christmas.

    I always tend to throw at least one bottle of £5 port into my mulled wine per two bottles of red instead of the usual brandy, which I think would make it go nicely with the cheesiness.

  4. I like the mulled wine idea too. But the liquid measurement confuses me a bit. What quantity would be found in 1/2 tea cup? The same as 1/2 cup (liquid measure)? If so, then I'm even more in favor of mulled wine. As you know, we mull our cider and wine in multiple-gallon measures. Using only 1/2 cup means there's more to drink!

  5. Kelly: dig this measurement conversion chart!

    So, half a tea cup is 2 oz.

    John: I never do brandy in my mulled wine... Port has strong potential, though. A lot of potential. :purr:

  6. I substitute the port for the brandy because (a) I like port much better, (b) it gives it some kick but without spiking it, and (c) I find that the brandy cuts the thick deliciousness of the mulling process. Really, I use the cheapo port, usually a supermarket own label ruby, which runs about five quid. Not really drinkable, but eminently mullable.