By Cat, June 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
In the 1970s while living in Portland, I met a couple who had moved there from London and opened a Jewish Deli. Over the years, I was invited many times to their home for a buffet dinner where dessert was almost always stilton cheese with sliced apples and/or pears. I learned to love that combination.
It is hard to find Stilton here in rural Montana, so when I go to Portland, OR for a visit, I go to City Market and stock up.
Stilton & Apple Quiche
This is my own recipe but inspired by an Apple/Bacon/Blue Cheese Quiche once offered by the Swan River Cafe here in Bigfork.
If you’re not familiar with Stilton, The English call it the King of Cheese. Its base is pale yellow, with blue veins like a French Blu. It has a strong flavor that may take some getting used to, if you are not already a fan of blue cheese. Often served as a first course with slices of apples or other fruit, it can also be served as a dessert course, and it goes well with any wine.
Did you know that the blue veins in any blue cheese are a penicillium mold (the fungi from which the original penicillin antibiotic was derived)? This same mold is used in sausage-making to protect the curing meat from being infected by bad bacteria.
When Stilton is not available, you can use any blue cheese, or a mix of blue and a yellow cheese. Kerrygold (from Ireland) has a good Irish yellow cheese that mixes well with Danish Blue. Another option is Huntsman cheese which is layers of stilton separated by layers of Double Gloucester (a rich yellow cheese without the blue), and thus reduces the ‘blue’ flavor. Check out Using Stilton (1) for more info and ideas for stilton.
You can substitute shallots or scallions for the leek, but it will have a different flavor. If you can’t find unsmoked bacon, look for one that does not have added smoke flavor. it’s also a good idea to blanch it to remove the smokey flavor:
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 Crust recipe for 10″ quiche pan (or 9″ deep dish pie pan)
- 1 – 2 strips meaty bacon (blanch if using smoked bacon – see above)
- 1 – 3 tsp butter as needed
- 1 medium leek, white part only (can also include light-green part)
- 4 oz Stilton, or other blue cheese or mix of blue and yellow cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
- 1 – 2 granny smith or other tart apple
- 4 large fresh farm eggs (or 4 small)
- 1 ½ cups Crème Fraiche or raw cream (or 1/2 cup raw cream and 1 cup raw milk for a lighter quiche)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
- ¼ tsp dry mustard (optional)
- dash nutmeg
- cast iron skillet
- small bowl
- medium bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup
- 10″ quiche or pie pan
- Prep: Place oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 350°F.
- Prepare crust, arrange in pan fluting the edge so that it stands up above the rim.
- Blanch bacon if smoked; cook in hot skillet until just done; drain on paper towel (retain bacon fat), then crumble to bits.
- Wash leek well; cut in half lengthwise, then slice thinly.
- Peel (or not) & core apple(s). Slice one in thin wedges, enough to make a wheel-spoke pattern in the pan. Chop remaining apple.
- Sauté leek and chopped apple in bacon fat (or butter) over low heat until soft. Saute sliced apples slightly, adding more butter to pan as needed; set aside.
- Assembly: Spread leek/apple mixture on crust.
- Crumble cheese(s); toss with bacon bits to mix. Sprinkle over the leek/apple mixture. Arrange sliced apples over all.
- Whisk eggs in bowl or measuring cup. Add cream/milk, salt & pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard (optional); whisk well to combine. Pour over quiche.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes, until set in center. NOTE: If using a deep dish pan, it may take a bit more time to cook.
- Transfer to a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- stilton cheese.com: Using Stilton (stiltoncheese.com/using_stilton)