Apple, Cider and Cheddar Tart

Cheese and apples work well together in Paul Bloxham's delectable flan, studded with sultanas and topped with a crunchy oat crumble
By Paul Bloxham
Apple, Cider and Cheddar Tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 225 g plain flour
  • pinches salt
  • 150 g chilled butter
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling

  • 250 ml cider
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 8 large Cox's apples
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinches grated nutmeg
  • 125 g porridge oats
  • 125 g light brown sugar
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g grated white cheddar cheese

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Stir in the sugar, and add the vanilla seeds. Add enough beaten egg to bind the pastry into a soft, but not sticky dough. Knead lightly and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes, until it has firmed up.

3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line a 22cm greased flan ring, leaving any extra pastry hanging over the edge.

4. Line the pastry with greaseproof and fill with baking beans - this is known as preparing pastry for 'baking blind'. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is just beginning to crisp around the edges. After cooking, trim the pastry edges so they're flush with the flan ring.

5. While the pastry is cooking, simmer the cider with the sugar until it cooks down into a light caramel. Stir in the chopped apples and sultanas and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until softened.

6. Season with half the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Pour the filling into the half-cooked tart case.

7. Combine the oats, brown sugar and flour with the remaining cinnamon, and another grate of nutmeg. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

8. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the apples in the pastry case, and bake for 35 minutes at 180C/gas 4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts - about 5 minutes.

9. Leave the flan to rest a few minutes before serving. Accompany with fromage frais.

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