- Food & Drink
It’s 3 weeks until I go to Ballymaloe and I’m working hard to use up all the half bags and rusting tins of food that I’ve gathered around me for the past couple of months/years. Some of it’s easier to cook with than others, and some of it’s in such large quantities that I despair of using even a quarter of it. The only way I’m going to get through all the oats is by adopting a particularly greedy pony.
Yesterday, looking at the Frankenstein’s laboratory of condiment jars that have been condemned to the top shelf of the fridge, I was struck with inspiration. Half a tub of quince paste has been languishing there for six months. It had one night of glory by the side of a cheeseboard and then went into exile; the number of cheeseboards I have a year being a far fewer than I thought.
But quinces are good in pies. And quinces are good in apple pies. So why not an apple and quince paste pie? A comment on the WoM’s What is British food? post about apple pies with Cheddar crusts fired the final inspiration gun: apple and quince paste pie with a Manchego cheese crust. I baked it today and we ate it hot with cream.
The quince paste melts into the juices, occasionally gathering in little perfumed pools between the slabs of apple. It’s best eaten warm, because the crust is rich and savoury straight out of the oven but it loses some of its cheesiness cold. The pie would also be nice with a spoonful of softening vanilla ice cream if you don’t like cream.
Apple and quince paste pie with a Manchego crust
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g cold unsalted butter, chopped
100g Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
750g Bramley apples
75g quince paste, chopped
50g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Milk, for glazing
1 Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in 1/2 tsp salt. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips to make fine crumbs. Stir in the cheese and approximately 3–4 tbsp ice cold water to bring the pastry together. Pat into a round, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220°C/200°C.
2 Peel, core and slice the apples into wedges about 1cm thick. Place in a bowl with the quince paste, sugar and cinnamon and stir to mix. Pile up in a 20cm pie plate.
3 Dust the work surface with a little flour and roll the pastry out to make a circle large enough to cover the apples. Brush the edge of the pie plate with milk, lay the pastry over the top of the apples and press the edges to the pie plate to seal. Slash the top of the pastry a couple of times to let any steam escape, brush with milk and sprinkle over a pinch of sugar. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Serve straight away.