Farmhouse Cheese Tart
This dish bursts with flavor when made with a true artisanal British farmhouse cheese.
Yield: serves 6
FOR THE PASTRY:
- 1 1⁄2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp. shortening
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
FOR THE FILLING:
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 5 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into walnut-size pieces
- 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. Lancashire, other farmhouse cheese, or New York Cheddar, crumbled
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the pastry: In a large mixing bowl, rub butter and shortening into flour with fingertips until sandy. Mix in thyme, salt, and pepper. Add 2-3 tbsp. cold water, 1 tbsp. at a time. Knead until pastry dough just holds together. Halve dough and form into two balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
- Prepare egg wash in a small bowl, stirring a dash of salt into egg yolk.
- For the filling: In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat until foaming, then add apples and onions. Cover and fry until golden and slightly softened, about 20 minutes. Transfer apple mixture into another large mixing bowl and stir in cheese, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a floured work surface, roll out 1 pastry ball and line a 9" removable-bottom tart tin, leaving at least 1⁄2" of pastry above the rim. Roll out remaining dough into a 9" round or cut out free-form leaf shapes.
- Fill tart shell with cooled apple mixture. Cover with pastry round, crimping edges carefully to seal (be sure to cut a hole for the steam to escape), or arrange pastry leaves on top. Brush pastry with the egg wash. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pastry is crisp and brown. Serve warm.