Apple Tart (with cheese)

177 Ain tortta von epffel zú machen
Nempt epffel, schelts vnnd stosts ain ribeissen, darnach rests jm schmaltz/ dan thiet daran soúil geriben kesß als epfel, ain wenig gestossen negelen, ain wenig jmber vnnd zimerrerlach, zway air, riert es woll dúrchainander, dan mach den taig wie zú ainem fladen, thút ain knepflin schmaltz darein, damit es sý nit anlaff, vnnd vnnden vnnd oben ain wenig glút, lasß gemach bachen.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

177 To make an apple tart
Take apples, peel them and grate them with a grater, afterwards fry them in fat. Then put in it as much grated cheese as apples, some ground cloves, a little ginger and cinnamon, two eggs. Stir it together well. Then prepare the dough as for a flat cake, put a small piece of fat into it so that it does not rise, and from above and below, weak heat. Let it bake slowly.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

This is one of a number of recipes in Sabina Welserin’s cookbook for an apple tart; presumably they were a staple fruit of the area. But unlike the Apple Pie with Raisins, this recipe stops you in your tracks. It’s not just the unusual description of the pastry, it’s the filling – apples, with cheese?!

However, it isn’t as strange as it seems – apple is often found on cheese boards. The filling itself is a pleasant, subtle mix of sweet and savoury, and is a great way to introduce feast attendees to the practice of serving sweet dishes with meat.

Sabina’s instructions for the casing for the dish are unclear. I have chosen to interpret this dish as a typical pie, however it’s entirely possible this is meant to be a strudel, where the filling is put into the centre of the dough, and the dough is folded over to encase the filling. If anyone has any other interpretations, I’d be happy to hear from you!

Ingredients

1 quantity shortcrust pastry 50g butter 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
250g cooking apples 2 eggs 1 tsp ground ginger
250g parmesan cheese 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry to approx. 4mm thickness and line a greased pie plate with it.
  2. Grate the cheese.
  3. Peel, core and grate the apples.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the grated apple. Fry the apple until it is warmed through.
  5. Add the spices, eggs and cheese to the apple, and mix well.
  6. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell, and smooth off.
  7. If you want to make a pie, roll out a pastry lid and place on top of the pie. Trim the edges and press the lid into the tart rim. Cut a small incision into the lid of the pie.
  8. Bake the tart or pie in a 180°C oven for around 30 minutes for a tart, or 45 minutes for a pie, until the pastry is golden.
  9. Serve hot or cold.

Notes

  • In the recipe, I have specified Parmesan cheese. This was a coveted, imported luxury in Germany, (Bach, 2016, 163), and is used extensively in Sabina Welser’s book. Parmesan was probably first exported from Italy in C14, and was prized throughout Europe. The relative dryness and higher salt content of a good parmesan cheese makes it easy to transport long distances without spoiling (Kindstedt, 2012, 155-157).

    If you are uncertain about using Parmesan in this recipe, you could substitute a milder cheese, such as Gouda or Edam.

Apple pie with cheese

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Kindstedt, Paul (2012). Cheese and Culture.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

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