My father was a Lancastrian and always ate his apple pie with cheddar… everyone knows that pork and apple go magnificently together and this dish is an amalgam of all three.
In fact, the apple and the pig is another example of Leonardo da Vinci’s theory (well… not sure he invented this one… the concept is ancient) that it’s a good idea to flavour a meat with the aromatic plants the animal feeds on. Thus orchard-penned pigs produce meat which is well-paired with apple. The Gloucestershire Old Spot pig is also known as the orchard pig, the black spots being supposedly bruises caused by the apples.
If you like Old Spot pigs – and I do – follow the Instagram @oink_stagram – wonderful!
The obvious drink of choice to accompany this dish is Orchard Pig Cider – Reveller (medium) or Truffler (dry) – it’s available at Tesco and all sorts of other places.
Serve with creamy cumin cabbage.
Recipe for pork and apple pie
- 640g shortcrust pastry
- 1 tbsp dried sage
- 170g/generous 1⅓ cup/6 oz grated cheddar cheese
- eight sage leaves
- 3 large tart apples (Granny Smith)
- 3 large sweet apples (Pink Lady)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 banana shallot (chopped)
- 900g/2 lbs minced pork
- Indonesian long pepper
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 teasp cinnamon
- 1 egg – beaten
- 3 tbsps breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp ginger wine
- 1 tbsp apple and blackberry chutney (or apple chutney if you can’t find this)
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Roll out the pastry, and roll onto it the grated cheese and the dried sage. Roll it into two circles – one larger (into which you also roll the grated cheese and dried sage) than the other to line the pie plate, and the other (brushed with some beaten egg) to form the crust. Line the pie plate with the larger circle, pressing into the sides.
- Core the apples and cut them into wedges (don’t bother to peel).
- Fry them without oil for about five minutes until they begin to soften – take out and set aside.
- Put the oil into the frying pan, get it reasonably hot and add first the onion, then as it begins to become translucent, the pork, sugar, salt and pepper, chutney, ginger wine and cinnamon. Get the meat brown and don’t let it form lumps.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs.
- Leave the mixture to cool slightly, mix in about two-thirds of the beaten egg, then fill the bottom of the pie with it.
- Lay the apple wedges smoothly over.
- Cover with the pastry crust, press together with the pastry sides, make three or four short slashes and brush with the rest of the egg.
- Lay the sage leaves around artistically.
- Bake for ten minutes then move to the baking oven of the Aga (or reduce the temperature to 180°C) and bake for a further 25 minutes (the pastry should be a lovely golden brown).
- Remove and serve with the creamy cumin cabbage.
Music to listen to
Judy Collins sings Father – most beautiful lyrics