Lincolnshire Poacher and apple pie
The addition of cheese to a sweet pie might seem strange, but it is in fact a relatively traditional English pastry. The tang of Lincolnshire Poacher, from Neal’s Yard Dairy, works very well as it’s not so strong nor musky a flavour that the sharp Bramley apples are overwhelmed. You could try using an aged comte or manchego if you can’t get hold of it.
SERVES SIX TO EIGHT INGREDIENTS
375g plain flour
225g cold unsalted butter, cubed 80g cold Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, cubed
Pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp fridge-cold water
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
Whole milk, for brushing
You will need a 22-23cm pie dish. Note the pastry is best made in a processor.
Put the flour, cold butter, cold cheese and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and cider vinegar and pulse again until the pastry comes together. Divide into two, one half slightly bigger than the other, and squash each into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Unwrap the larger pastry disc and roll it between two sheets of greaseproof paper to a thickness of 4mm, or until it is large enough to line your pie dish with a 1-2cm overhang. (The pastry is very short and the paper technique helps to keep it from breaking as you roll it.) Repeat with the second disc and chill the pastry sheets for 30 minutes.
To prepare the apple filling, put the lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples and transfer to the lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar over the apples, toss, then transfer half the apples and the cloves to a heavy-based saucepan. Stew over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and relatively dry. Pick out the cloves if you can and taste the purée – if it’s too sharp for your liking, add more sugar, then mix back into the uncooked apples.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
Line the pie dish with the larger piece of chilled pastry. Fill with apple mix, then brush the edges of the pastry with milk. Lay the second piece of pastry over the top, pushing the edges of the pastry firmly together either by crimping it, or using the back of a fork. Make three to four small holes in the top with the tip of a knife (to help steam escape). Brush the pie with milk, then place on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the pie, brush it with milk again and sprinkle with golden caster sugar. Return to the oven for a final 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove, allow to cool for five minutes, and serve with cream.