A cooking experiment

[admin note. For those who only check once in a while I’m expecting to get two and maybe three posts out today.]

I tried a cooking experiment today. No picture because it didn’t come out, but it has a lot of potential so I’ll share anyway.

I used my small (6 inch) cast iron skillet. I blind baked a faux ritz cracker (crushed crackers and butter) crust. Over that I placed most of the slices from two apples, cored and thinly sliced. That got topped with a mix of:about 6 ounces of grated cheddar and monterey jack cheese; 2 eggs (beaten); 1/4 cup whole milk. I topped it with the rest of the apple slices, making a thin almost-complete layer on top. This got baked in a medium oven for 20 minutes.

It almost worked. I like apples and cheddar, usually, and this came close. Fixes. First, better apples. I used a mild, sweet apple. I think this needs a strong apple, whether sharp ( for example granny smiths) or sweet (for example galas). Also, maybe more apples — a third would have had more apple taste to the party.

Second… second, I’m torn. 20 minutes was almost too much for the egg and cheese custard. On the other hand it didn’t soften the apples any to speak of. What I think I’ll do is go for softer custard and crisper apples, though. I think I’ll go 15 minutes, but brush the apples on top with melted butter. The oil would allow more heat transfer, softening the slices up top. Yes, they were thin slices instead of chunks.

Third, I’ll let it set longer before removing from the pan. By the end what was left had firmed up a bit. If I’d just let it set for 15 to 30 minutes it probably would have made beautiful slices – and it’d have come out of the pan whole for a pretty display as well.

An optional fourth is a different pan. The size was right for just the two of us. The problem with cast iron is a strength of cast iron; it retains heat. It kept cooking the custard, and it kept the whole in semifluid state for longer. But it was the right size and it did mostly come out right, so I’m not sure of this change.

If it had come out, the pretty rosette of apple slices on top made a very pretty picture and I’d have shared. As it is, you’ll have to live with the description. Feel free to do your own experiment.

(And if you haven’t tried sharp cheese and sweet apples together, do so. It’s worth it.

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2 thoughts on “A cooking experiment

  1. Perhaps your apples might be partially cooked prior to assembly of your experimental tart. I started baking at an early age in New York, and in later years had found it interesting that many UK recipies for apple pie advised stewing the apples with sugar and a bit of lemon juice before adding to the crust for baking.

    On a 2005 visit to the Sandringham Park, Norfolk, we were delighted to purchase a great stock of their own orchard grown Bramley apples. This is the type recommended as most suitable for a traditional pie. Kirk, the extraordinary sourness of those royal apples can neither be expressed nor imagined, and the addition of lemon juice could only serve to heighten the agony. Thereafter, I have remained loyal to dear Granny Smith.

    • If I want soft, you’re probably right. It’s a sad thing given I was looking for relatively low effort in the process.

      As to the Browns… wow. Yeah, I think I’ll stick to good old Granny for my tart needs.

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