Monthly Archives: October 2013

Two Fruit Cheeses


With the recent glut of fruits available I decided to have a go at making a couple of different fruit cheeses.

The first I attempted was damson cheese with some cute little damsons I bought from my fantastic local farm shop Priory Farm which is frequented by none other than Dame Judy Dench.

I used a recipe from Vivien Lloyd, which can be found here.

It’s pretty straightforward. You just cook the damsons with some water until they are soft.

Then push them through a sieve.

Weigh the purée and then pop it back in the pan and cook until it is thick.

Then add the same weight sugar as purée and cook until it is thick and glossy and when you push the spoon along the bottom of the pan it leaves a clear trail.


I put mine into sterilised small jars which I bought from The Bristol Bottle Company.


I also put a bit into silicone chocolate moulds to make small sweets.

Which I subsequently covered in chocolate.


I’ve not tasted the stuff in the jars yet (they will be Christmas presents), but the chocolate covered sweets were absolutely delicious.

And last night I made pear and apple cheese with a recipe from the fabulous Pam Corbin from River Cottage. The recipe is on the channel 4 website here

The apples were some of the ones me and the little munchkin picked from RHS Wisley

The technique was basically the same, except I had to peel, chop and core the apples and pears before cooking them. And she recommends a smaller amout of sugar (75% of the weight of the purée). This might be because these fruits are naturally sweeter than damsons.

I cooked them

Pushed them through a sieve.

Using a ladle is a top tip.
Cooked with the sugar (I also added a cinnamon stick)

Until it was thick, glossy and much darker than before.

This time I filled six small jars, a silicone 6 cupcake tray (brushed with a little glycerine which is supposed to make it easy to turn out), and a small loaf tin lined with grease proof paper. With the loaf tin I poured it about 3cm deep, and I intend to cut it into cubes and either roll in sugar or dip in chocolate.

I’m leaving them all for several days to be properly set, and will then turn out the cupcake tray and loaf tin. I will add extra photos then!


Yum yum!

Dutch Apple Pie


Many moons ago my brother owned a cafe in The Lake District.

He’s a particularly friendly chap, and visitors would come in just to chat to him. One year a Dutch couple came in every day of their week long holiday. When they returned home they sent him a special pie tin and a recipe for Dutch apple pie. The pie was a massive hit in the cafe. It was about 3 inches deep and we served it hot with cream or ice cream.

In the mists of time the recipe has been lost, but I made it so many times I half remember how to do it.

My cutie as pie daughter and I picked a load of apples at RHS Wisley the other day, so I decided to have a go at making my own version of the famous pie.

The original pie was really deep amd made with a sweet pastry crust, but feeling a bit lazy, I just bought some jus roll frozen short crust pastry and made it a normal pie size. If you are feeling adventurous make some sweet pastry (pâté sucre?) and use a deep springform tin.

Peel, core and slice some cooking apples. I used about 5, and i wish i had done another one. Over estimate what you think you will need as there is nothing worse than a skinny pie. Chuck them in your chosen pie dish as you slice them if you want to know how many you need. Then add at least one more (they shrink!).

Mix together some sugar and cinnamon (as much or as little as you like). I guess I used a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon.


Put a layer of apples in a bowl and sprinkle over some of the sugar.


Keep on layering like this until all of your apples are used up.


Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest. A couple of hours or ideally overnight. The idea is to let the sugar infuse with the apple and to draw out a lot of the juice.

Get a handful of sultanas (as much or little as you like) and put in a bowl. Pour over some rum or other delicious alcohol. I used cherry brandy this time. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.



The next day drain the apple and the sultanas. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Roll out your pastry and fill your pie dish.

Layer in the apples and sultanas. Then top with a pastry crust. On the original version we used thin strands of pasty twisted in a lattice over the top. But this time I just did a normal rolled out top.

Glaze with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut two holes in the top for the steam to escape through. Cook at 200 degrees for about half an hour. Reduce to 180 if it looks like the top is catching but you don’t think it’s cooked. Poke a knife through one of the slits in the top to check the apple is cooked.


Serve hot with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. This will be one of the best apple pies you have ever tasted. I guarantee it. And no soggy bottoms.