Apple & Colston Bassett Blue Cheese Tart

October 29, 2014

Apple & Colston Bassett Blue Cheese Tart

I love the colder months, especially autumn. The brown crispy leaves on kerbs sides that are just begging to be stepped on, conkers, the hues of gold and brown colours that pattern the landscape and – of course – the produce. Apples are really getting into the swing of it right now; Autumn is the best time of year for our heritage fruit which is so often taken for granted.

I was at the market the other day and as usual, the vast array of produce got my creative juices flowing. I bought some lovely cox’s from a stall at the bargain price of 2lb for £1.50, a pretty fair deal I think you will agree. Now I could have done the obligatory apple crumble or pie but instead I wanted to do something a little different, something sweet and savoury. I also bought a creamy wedge of Colston Bassett blue cheese from Sherwin’s Cheese Company, a lovely cheese stall located with friendly staff in the new food hall (Sherwin’s specializes in artisan local and regional cheeses such as Sparkenhoe Red Leicester and Kick Ass Cheddar and Stilton but also has a great selection of Continental cheeses). Anyway, blue cheese and apple work brilliantly together, so I made this simply delicious tart in which the sweet apples compliment the salty tangy cheese perfectly.

The key to getting the flavour right on this tart is using good cheese and the right apple: you want a firm apple that will hold its shape such as russet, cox’s, granny smith or bramley. You don’t want the apples turning to mush as it will be obvious in the finished dish. You can peel them if you like, but I like the added texture of the peel and it makes for a better presentation to see the contrast of the coloured skin against the white flesh.

Ingredients:

• 3 apples, cox worked very nicely but use whichever apple you can find or prefer
• 20g salted butter cut into cubes
• 320g sheet of all butter puff pastry
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 70g Colston Bassett blue, or your favourite blue cheese
• 2 dessert spoons of apricot jam
• 2 level dessert spoons of caster sugar

Method:

1. Core and slice the apples to about the thickness of a £1 coin, place in bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice to stop them going brown. Pre heat your oven to gas mark 7/220°C.

2. Place a puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. I trimmed about a centimetre off the edges to make it neater, but this is not essential. Lay the apple slices in overlapping rows leaving about an inch space around the edge. You may not need all of the apple, but you can keep what’s left in the fridge for something else or to snack on.

3. Sprinkle the caster sugar evenly over the top of the apples, then dot with the butter. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the top is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven then gently warm the apricot jam in a pan until melted, then brush gently over the top of the tart to create a nice shine. Lastly crumble over the blue cheese and leave to melt in the residual heat. Serve warm.

This lovely tart is excellent with a crisp green leafy salad for a light lunch or as a starter/canapé when guests come over.

Adam-Garratt-Bio-Box