Quince Apple Pie with Star Anise, topped with a slice of melted 24 month aged Comté cheese
Quince and cheese is an age-old winning combination. This recipe pairs them in dessert form along with some of the most heart warming Autumn flavours and a crisp hazelnut crust.
We will be serving this dish at Tobacco Dock for Taste of Winter London on Friday 20th Nov – come & find us in the Dessert Bar.
For the pastry
380g plain flour
50g ground hazelnuts
Pinch of salt
40g icing sugar, sifted
230g unsalted butter, cubed or grated and refrigerated
6-8 tbsp ice cold water
For the filling
1 litre water
220g light brown sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways / half teaspoon vanilla powder
7 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of salt
One 23cm round tart tin,
– 1 egg yolk loosened with a few drops of double cream and beaten with a fork to – make an egg wash, plus a sprinkle of Demerara or brown sugar
– 100g Comté 24month aged cheese, cut carefully into 8 x 2-3mm thick slices
sprigs of thyme (optional)
- Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the chopped butter, then cover with a plate and transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a food processor or stand mixer and combine in quick pulses to just bring it to the breadcrumbs stage.
- Add the water gradually until it comes together as a dough.
- Split into 2 even batches, wrap in cling film & transfer to the fridge to rest for minimum 1 hour, or overnight
Meanwhile, poach the fruit for the filling
- Peel and core the fruit, slicing half to about 1cm thickness, then dicing the rest so you will end up with a mix of firm and more pureed fruit.
- Put the water into a heavy bottomed pan. Add just the quince, lemon and orange, sugar and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Cover and leave to simmer until the fruit is cooked through; about 20 minutes.
- Drain the syrup into a bowl and put the quince in another bowl to cool.
- Return syrup to the pan, along with the orange, lemon and spices and now add the apple.
- Cook exactly as you did with the quince for around 15 minutes.
- Once cooked return the quince to the pan and boil on high until your syrup has reduced and is glossy and thick.
- Remove from the heat and drain almost all of the syrup off, leaving the star anise & cinnamon in the bowl for now.
While the fruit is cooling, roll out your pastry base…
Note: Be warned that if it has been in the fridge for a long time it will need a little time to soften before you can roll it. If you made your pastry the night before, leave it out as you make the fruit.
Now, to make the pie
- Preheat the oven to 180c
- Roll out each batch of pastry to 5mm thick, placing the first in your prepared tart tin and trimming the edges so they’re neat.
- Now remove star anise and cinnamon sticks and transfer the fruit to the tin so it comes level with the top.
- Brush the edges with some egg yolk and place the other piece of pastry on top to form the lid – pressing to seal together.
- Now prick the surface of the pastry a few times and put into your oven
- Bake for approx 50 mins or until pastry is starting to brown.
- Once you feel the pastry is cooked through and browning, remove from the oven and brush with some egg wash, dust with a little brown or Demerara sugar and return to the oven for 5 mins, checking to ensure the pastry is cooked through.
Allow the pie to cool for 10 mins in the pan before carefully cutting into slices – topping each one with a thin (2-3mm thickness) pieces of Comté Cheese.
Serve piping hot with the cheese melting – top with a sprig of thyme if you like.
Also – don’t forget the lovely syrup! You can reduce again and serve with the pie or save for another recipe – it will be full of flavour and worth using. Alternatively you can add a few handfuls of raisins and store airtight in the fridge – they will plump up beautifully and you can use them for another pie or a snack with natural yoghurt or ice cream.
A note on the cheese
We selected Comté for this recipe, although feel free to experiment with other cheeses to suit your taste.
Comté cheese is made in the Massif du Jura region of France and has been for over 1,000 years. Montbéliarde and French Simmental are the only cows allowed for the production of Comté milk. They must only be fed with natural feed and have at least 2.5 acres of grazing pasture. Comté’s methods of production are still based on the original co-operative approach and artisan traditions. Each day it is crafted in around 153 small village fruitières. Often situated in the heart of the village, each fruitière continues to receive milk from dedicated dairy farms situated within an 8 mile radius to guarantee its absolute freshness. This radius also ensures all 153 remain active and the Massif du Jura region maintains its fruitière diversity. The freshly made cheese wheels are pre-ripened for a few weeks before moving to one of the 16 maturing cellars. Here the affineurs look after them for 4 to 18 months or more; regularly turning, salting and rubbing each one with brine solution. Over time a crust appears and every Comté wheel develops its unique smooth texture, rich colour and delicious range of flavours.