Apple & Cheese Pithivier
When I found last week’s Tomato & Grapefruit Salsa recipe in my files by chance, I also happened upon a butternut squash & Gruyère pithivier recipe from British Olive magazine. I liked the combination of the squash, cheese, and sage but I was set on making something with apples.
Pithivier, if you haven’t heard of it before, is basically a closed pie made of two discs of puff pastry and filling. As you can see in the pictures, my execution can not compete with the magazine’s, but it’s the taste that counts!
I don’t know where my sudden urge to use apples in my cooking and baking suddenly came from, but for a few weeks now I’ve been looking around for old varieties, just because I find the three or four typcial supermarket apple varieties a little boring. I found it’s not so easy to get old varieties, especially if you don’t know people who own orchards, or farmers around here who farm apples. At the Friday market the choice wasn’t great either, so I went with Jonagold from a local farm.
Despite Gruyère being one of my favourite cheeses, I decided to try a softer cheese, a Saint Albray. Sadly, the little round of cheese was made up of six little individual pieces, which I snacked on while unpacking my shopping 😂 . Luckily I had been on a cheese bender at the supermarket and bought a few more cheeses, one of them being sliced Fol Epi.
Surprisingly, the only thing I couldn’t get anywhere was thyme, which I wanted to replace the sage with in the original recipe. Three markets and a supermarket later, still no luck. I was resigned to use sage instead when I got a call from my mother Saturday morning saying she just found fresh thyme, would I like some. Oh, yes!
I was really happy how my first go at making pithivier turned out. I had added a little apple schnapps to the bowl of sliced apples, which I’m not sure I could really taste after baking. What I did notice was that – because my execution was a little sloppy and my pithivier apparently had a leak where the two pie discs connected – the apples seemed to have shed a little of the liquid onto the baking sheet. The pie bottom wasn’t soggy, though, it didn’t do any harm.
Tastewise I’m giving full points to myself 😀 . I love the apple & cheese combination, the thyme wasn’t too much as it was fresh and not dried, and well… puff pastry! Who doesn’t like that. This was also very quickly put together, and I would definitely make this again, maybe even smaller versions for a buffet or for starters.
I like this pithivier best eaten warm because the cheese will still be gooey, alternatively reheated in the microwave, although the puff pastry will lose its crispiness.
Apple & Cheese Pithivier
1 roll all-butter puff pastry
sliced cheese, e.g. Fol Épi
apple schnapps (optional)
1 egg, beaten
Peel, core and finely slice the apples, then – if using – drizzle some apple schnapps over them. [Not more than about 2 – 3 tbsp.] Make sure they’re not dripping with liquid before using them.
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F (fan oven).
Unroll the puff pastry, and using a dessert plate cut out two rounds. Transfer one to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leaving a rim of approx. ½ cm / 0.1″, place a layer of cheese slices on the puff pastry. Next layer the apple slices on top of the cheese, then add some fresh thyme leaves. Repeat to make another two layers, making sure the end result is slightly dome shaped.
Top the layers with the second puff pastry disc, making sure the top and bottom disc connect, and use a little water to make them stick together. [I just dipped a finger in water and pressed on the edges to seal them.]
Brush the pastry top with the beaten egg, then use a not too sharp knife to mark a pattern (spiral or criss-cross) into the top without cutting into it.
Bake for approx. 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden. Eat warm to enjoy the gooeyness of the cheese.
Note: For the leftover puff pastry I used small ramekins to cut out circles and used up the leftover cheese and apples to make mini pithiviers.