Savoury ap­ple cheese wal­nut short­cakes

Food & Drink - - FOOD ENTERTAINI­NG -

Crispy on the out­side and ten­der in­side, zesty cheese bis­cuits stud­ded with toasted wal­nuts are mighty tasty on their own. When you add savoury sautéed ap­ples and fluffy cream, you’ve got a de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent twist on short­cake— per­fect for the fi­nale to an au­tumn meal. For an ex­tra touch of deca­dence, beat ¼ cup (60 mL) mas­car­pone or soft­ened cream cheese into the whipped cream. Use cook­ing ap­ples that hold their shape and flavour, such as Crispin (Mutsu), Em­pire, North­ern Spy, or Ida Red. The bis­cuits are best served the day they’re baked.

SHORT­CAKES

½ cup (125 mL) shred­ded washed-rind cheese (such as Gunn’s Hill Han­deck, aged Ni­a­gara Gold) or ex­tra-old ched­dar

½ cup (125 mL) wal­nuts

½ cup (125 mL) milk

1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vine­gar

1⅓ cups (330 mL) all-pur­pose flour

2 tsp (10 mL) gran­u­lated sugar

1¼ tsp (6 mL) bak­ing pow­der

¼ tsp (1 mL) bak­ing soda

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pep­per

½ cup (125 mL) cold un­salted but­ter, cut into cubes

Ad­di­tional milk

FILL­ING

3 firm ap­ples, peeled and cut into

¼ inch-thick (5 mm) wedges

¼ cup (60 mL) cider vine­gar

2 tbsp (30 mL) un­salted but­ter

2 tbsp (30 mL) gran­u­lated sugar ½ tsp (2 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or a pinch dried thyme)

Salt and freshly ground pep­per

½ cup (125 mL) 35% whip­ping cream

1 Spread shred­ded cheese on a freezer-safe plate and freeze for 15 min­utes.

2 Mean­while, pre­heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large bak­ing sheet with parch­ment pa­per.

3 Spread wal­nuts on a pie plate and toast in pre­heated oven for about 5 min­utes or un­til golden and fra­grant. Im­me­di­ately trans­fer to a bowl and let cool. Chop into small pieces and trans­fer to a large bowl.

4 Whisk to­gether milk and vine­gar; let stand for 5 min­utes.

5 Com­bine flour, sugar, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, salt and pep­per in food pro­ces­sor and pulse to com­bine. Sprin­kle but­ter over flour mix­ture and pulse un­til coarse crumbs form (or com­bine dry in­gre­di­ents in a bowl and cut in but­ter us­ing a pas­try blender). Add to wal­nuts in bowl and stir in cold cheese. Driz­zle milk mix­ture over­top. Stir with a fork un­til a soft dough forms.

6 Gather with floured hands and trans­fer to a lightly floured sur­face. Gently knead 2 or 3 times just un­til dough holds to­gether. Pat into a 1-inch-thick (2.5-cm) cir­cle and use a 3-inch (8-cm) round bis­cuit cut­ter to cut 4 bis­cuits (re-roll scraps if de­sired to make an ex­tra bis­cuit). Place on pre­pared bak­ing sheet, at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Brush tops lightly with milk.

7 Bake for about 15 min­utes or un­til puffed and golden. Trans­fer to a rack. Let cool slightly and serve warm or let cool com­pletely.

8 For the fill­ing, com­bine ap­ples and vine­gar in a bowl and toss to coat. Melt but­ter in a large skil­let over medium-high heat. Add sugar and stir un­til dis­solved and start­ing to brown. Add ap­ples and the liq­uid, thyme and a pinch each of salt and pep­per. Cook, stir­ring, for about 2 min­utes or un­til start­ing to soften. Re­duce heat to medium-low and cook, gently stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 10 to 15 min­utes or un­til ap­ples are ten­der and golden but still hold­ing their shape. Re­move from heat and let cool slightly or to room tem­per­a­ture.

9 Just be­fore serv­ing, whip cream with a pinch of salt un­til soft peaks. Split bis­cuits and place bot­toms on serv­ing plates. Top with whipped cream and ap­ples, then bis­cuit tops.

Serves 4

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