If you are what you eat, then there’s no getting around the fact that, last month, I was an apple. A bramley apple to be precise.
My increased apple intake had a lot to do with the fact that the Best In Season folks were running another recipe competition, this time with bramleys in mind. I hadn’t done too shabbily last time out, so I was all on for having another go. Thus there was much baking and subsequent consumption of bramleyed goods. Enough, if the old apple-a-day adage is anything to go by, to ensure that my doctor would be kept away indefinitely. And in the end, I tasted what I had made, and indeed it was good, I-must-make-you-again-soon kind of good.
What I held in my hands was a dessert bowl full of bramley chunks baked with soft creamy goats cheese, honey and rosemary, with some oats and pine nuts to top it off. Crumblesque but, dare I say it, even easier to make than an apple crumble. Regardless of how it fares in the competition, it’s a winner chez Spud.
Honeyed Apple with Goat’s Cheese
As I discovered when I made Nigella’s rosemary loaf cake a while back, rosemary does not have to be confined to the savoury side of the house, so please don’t be afraid to use it here. Apples and rosemary make for a rather good combination.
And a word about the goat’s cheese. I used cheese from Bluebell Falls, which is one of the best you can get in Ireland (give me some of their goat’s cheese with pepper and garlic, dolloped with some sweet onion relish, and I’m happy). The good news, as Caroline from Bibliocook reported recently, is that cheese-lovers here can now order Bluebell Falls online and have it delivered, if not to your plate, then at least as far as your front door. The even better news is that their fresh cheeses are suitable for home freezing. Now there is no need for me to be without the stuff, ever.
For the apples:
- 2 large bramley apples, around 600g total
- 200g fresh soft goat’s cheese (I used Bluebell Falls Cygnus)
- 100ml honey
- 0.5 tsp very finely chopped rosemary needles
For the topping:
- 4 tblsp oatflakes
- 2 tsp pine nuts, finely chopped
- 2 tsp honey
- 0.25 tsp coarse salt flakes
You’ll also need:
- Aluminium foil and parchment paper plus 1 baking tray or shallow roasting tin, around 24cm x 30cm, for the apples and a smaller baking tray, around 20cm x 30cm, for the topping.
- Preheat your oven to 190C.
- Tear off a piece of foil slightly wider and longer than your roasting tin and sit it into the tin.
- Wash the apples and, with the skin left on, quarter them, remove the cores and chop into small chunks, around 1cm wide or less.
- Spread the chopped apples out on the foil-lined tin.
- Crumble the goats cheese over the apples, drizzle over the honey and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.
- Cover the apple mixture with more foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
- While the apples are baking, mix together the oatflakes, chopped pine nuts, honey and salt for the topping.
- Spread the topping onto a piece of parchment paper, using your fingers to break up any clumps that have formed, and place on a baking tray.
- After the apples have been cooking for 10 minutes, put the topping in the oven. Bake both for another 5 minutes or so, until the apples are soft and the topping is lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
- Divide the cheesy apples among 4 bowls, scatter with the topping and serve for dessert. This would also make a good filling for pancakes, hot or cold, with or without the topping.
- Replace the rosemary with cinnamon, the honey with maple syrup and the pine nuts with walnuts for a more classic apple dessert.
- Cheesy bramleys for 4