Cheese and grape pie
How do you like your cheese?
My first choice is fresh and unadorned, served on a platter with nothing more than fresh bread or crackers, the French way. Sometimes we add elements of sweetness like fig paste or quince jam, to cut thru a pungent blue cheese.
These cheese platters nearly always feature on our dinner table, though in typical australian fashion, they are served before dinner as an accompaniment to drinks ( I am still to convince any of my australian relatives and friends to have cheese for dessert!). You can’t find an easier way to entertain, in my books and I always have a reserve of delicious cheeses sitting in my fridge at the ready. Don’t feel like cooking tonight? Having impromptu visitors? Just put a platter together, open a nice bottle of wine (red or white, no rules here!) and enjoy a fuss free evening…
We’ve had many visitors in the past few weeks, joining us for several celebrations and I can’t tell you how many cheese platters have been served! The funny thing though is that after a while we all looked for variety in our offering of “aperitifs” and started to switch to different options, some lighter than others ( think bowls of nuts vs savoury fritters!). No complaints from the writer, it was a culinary feast all along.
But that has meant a fridge full of cheeses, some leftovers from a previous party, others still waiting to be opened. And with our guests now gone, I find myself faced with the dilemma of disposing of of some of these goodies ( yes, a horrifying thought even if my kids point to how stinky some of the parcels are!) or incorporating them in every single dish until we’re thru them all. Needless to say that I rejected the former option and have embarked on a mission to come up with ways to enjoy cheese daily, other than on a platter.
Here is a picture of what is in my fridge today: parmesan, blue cheese, double brie, double cream, greek sheep’s cheese, cheddar, jarslberg, flavoured cream cheese and more blue cheese. All awaiting transformation once my imagination kicks in.
In the meantime, last night was the fist challenge, when I dealt with a container full of left over cheese, which had been begging for attention for days (ok, weeks). The selection was: Meredith Ash goat cheese (VIC), South Cape Gouda (VIC), King Island Smoked Cheddar and King Island Roaring Forties Blue cheese (TAS). There is no “before” photo as I don’t want to gross anyone out with the aged appearance of the cheeses. Suffice to say that when my daughter queried my scraping of the rind, I replied “just in case you’re allergic to penicillin”. It was a joke of course!!!
Since I had no hope of anyone tasting cheese “that old” I decided to cook it and turn it into a cheese pie with the help of some grapes which also happened to be on their way out ( my tip: cut off the soft parts!). Add the usual eggs and sour cream mixture, pour into a pastry shell as for a quiche, bake and voila!
The overall flavour of the dish will depend on the cheese ratio: the gouda and blue make it smooth, while the goat cheese lends a certain tanginess and the cheddar brings a hint of smokiness. But don’t take my word for it, feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand, and create your own left over cheese pie. The final words go to my son who upon seeing the grapes could not tell if the pie was for main course or dessert, but later said “ I am so glad you followed your instincts mum, that was a brilliant idea!” Feeling happy.
Cheese and Grape Pie
Serves 6 as a starter
1 frozen sheet of store-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed out at room temperature until pliable
3-4 cups of mixed left over cheeses (smoked cheddar, edam, blue cheese and goat cheese), roughly chopped, rind removed
1 cup mixed grapes, washed and trimmed
1 tub (250g) sour cream
3 large eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C
- Roll out the thawed out pastry until it forms a rough circle and place in a 28cm pie dish.
- Scatter the chopped cheese in the dish, mixing the flavours evenly. Add the grapes and arrange them so they are also spread throughout.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and the sour cream together, add pepper to taste ( no need for salt, the cheese is already salty). Pour the mixture over the cheese and grapes. Trim the edges of the pastry if needed.
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
- Serve warm with a green salad for a light lunch or at room temperature on its own as a snack. Enjoy!