When the weather’s cold and dreary, I think a lot of people look to offset the chill and gloom with comforting meals and homemade treats. The last couple of days here in the city have been pretty cool and rainy (definite fall weather!) so I was on the lookout for a seasonal-themed treat to put together this weekend for the blog. And since last week I dealt with pumpkin as the seasonal flavour pick, I thought this time around I would incorporate September’s other major harvest flavour: apple.
One of my favourite flavour pairings (especially in the fall when the apples are plentiful and ripe) is crisp apple and extra-old cheddar cheese. The sharpness of the cheese and the tartness of the apple complement each other well, and you can make a super quick, and super easy snack simply out of sliced apples and cheese. But simply cutting up apples and cheese wasn’t going to cut it (pardon the pun) when it came to putting together a homemade comfort-food fall treat for the weekend. A cold snack wouldn’t take away the chill from rainy fall weather, and it definitely wouldn’t fill the house with the delicious, comforting smells of something baking in the oven!
Online you can find all kinds of recipes for homemade apple-based treats—even ones that incorporate sharp, aged cheddar cheese for a more savoury component. Trying to find “the perfect apple pie recipe” through your average online search engines can be a major undertaking though, and to be honest, I didn’t think I had it in me this weekend to sort through all those search results (never mind futzing around trying to make proper pie pastry dough). No thanks. Luckily for me, ‘apple’ is as common a theme for baking recipes as ‘crackpot theories’ is to Game of Thrones fans.
So I definitely wasn’t feeling limited in my search at all.
So what I really wanted for this weekend (and this blog post!) was a recipe for something fall-y, apple-y, cheesy, and warm from the oven, and when I came across Canadian Living’s September 2013 recipe for Apple Cheddar Quick Bread, I knew I’d found the perfect weekend treat recipe.
This savoury-sweet loaf isn’t too labour intensive to prepare, and while it bakes, it will fill your home with the best smells—baking apple, baking bread, and melting, crisping cheddar cheese! It’s delicious when it’s warm from the oven, and even tastier when it’s left to cool on the counter for a while. When I made the bread, I left the peels on my diced and grated apples because I thought it might add a complementary texture to the softness of the fresh bread, and because I don’t mind apple peel at all. (Though you can absolutely peel the apples if you prefer—that’s one of those details that won’t have too much of an effect on the finished product, I think.) I think this bread would make for a great, savoury accompaniment to a bowl of steaming-hot, root vegetable-heavy stew, or a nice, herbed pork loin supper.
Of course, a cup of tea, and a slice of this bread would make for a perfectly good evening snack for you to indulge in while you sit in your comfiest chair, and watch the wind blow and the rain fall outside your window. And not that I’m trying for a hard sell here… but that seems like the ideal set up for thinking up your own nutty theories about Game of Thrones character motivations and machinations, too.
Apple Cheddar Quick Bread (Canadian Living, September 2013, online)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
Makes: 12 to 18 servings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-1/3 cups shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup diced, cored and peeled Granny Smith apples
- 3/4 cup grated and peeled Granny Smith apples
- 2/3 cup milk
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir in 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese. In separate bowl, beat butter until smooth; beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in diced apple, grated apple and milk; stir into flour mixture just until combined. Spread in greased 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in 375 F (190 C) oven until cheese on top is melted and golden, and cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.