Welcome to the Autumn Equinox Tarot Blog Hop, in which our wrangler has given us the theme “Tarot Characters and Sacred Cooking” and asked us to choose a character and try to find out what they would cook at Harvest Tide. Before we continue to foodie loveliness, here are the navigation links for this Hop:
I was quite excited at the prospect of writing about cooking – a topic that has appeared frequently in this blog. Oh yes! On the other hand, “Sacred” implies religion, which I don’t do, so I had to give that aspect some thought. Of course, all food is sacred. It maintains life, gives pleasure in many ways and should be venerated…well, apart from celery, which is the work of some foul demonic spawn. First problem solved.
The other factor to consider was how food fits in to the Tarot. Well, we have the court cards, all of whom undoubtedly have their favourite dishes in keeping with their suit characteristics. Then there is the 9 of Cups, a foodie if ever there was one, feasting for the 4 of Wands, just drinkies and maybe a few nibbles for the 3 of Cups, a nice family picnic in the 10 of Cups and the affluent 10 of Pentacles tribe undoubtedly eat well too.
Moving on to the Majors, the Fool has his sandwiches or maybe a nice ploughman’s, something with pomegranates and mystery for the High Priestess, wafers and wine for the Hierophant and the Magician can surely whip something surprising up. Varied and abundant eating for the Empire couple, contrasting with a handful of juniper berries consumed by the Hermit, a more balanced diet for Temperance and everyone knows how the Devil enjoys a good barbecue (with hot sauce)!
I could have continue through the rest, but settled on the Lovers for a number of reasons, not least the abundance of recipe possibilities. No, it’s not going to be snake surprise, although….
Feeling hungry, yet ? 😀
So, back to the Lovers…
Oops, I mean…
Ooh, that Devil is insidious! Although, have you ever noticed the similarity between these two cards?
*Wrenches self back on to topic*
Where was I? Yes, The Lovers! Of course, I am referring to the apple (shoves Devil, craftily trying to slither back into the frame, out of the way again). Apples have long been associated with the sacred, from sin in the bible*, love in Greek/Roman mythology, immortality in Norse, health (an apple a day…) and being seasonal at this time of year, they are a centrepiece of harvest festivals in many cultures and cut widthways, they reveal a pentacle shape. What better than to celebrate this sacred fruit with a nice, tasty recipe. Ready?
*although the Ancient Greek word for apple/fruit means sheep or goat – make of that what you will.
Apple Pie with a Cheese Crust**
**because cheese is also a venerated and sacred food in this house – just ask the dog.
Apples and cheese go well together and the cheese makes the pastry nice and crispy. Rather than messing about with specific units of measure, I’ve used proportions to make things easier and left the recipe “free-style” so you can personalise it. Go on – get creative!
For the cheese pastry:
4 parts plain flour
2 parts grated Cheddar or strong cheese
2 parts butter (or 1 each butter and lard for a shorter pastry)
For the filling:
Several apples – eating or a mix of eating and cooking
Sugar to taste (a couple of tbsp will be plenty)
Juice and zest from half a lemon
Spices to taste (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mixed spice)
To make the pastry the hard way, rub the butter/lard into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, whilst chanting your preferred incantations. Stir in the cheese then add enough chilled water to bind the mixture into a soft dough.
To make the pastry the easy way, toss the flour into your blessed food processor, say “Abracadabra” whilst simultaneously pressing the start button. Process into fine crumbs, then add the cheese, pulse a couple of times and add chilled water until the mixture binds.
Do not overwork/over-process the dough. Wrap it in clingfilm and stick it in the fridge for half an hour. Go do some yoga or light a candle and chant or something. Note: avoid the temptation to light incense and it will interfere with the cooking process (see below).
Alternatively, prepare the filling:
Peel, quarter and core the apples, cutting then into slices. Put them into a bowl with some lemon juice and your sugar and spices. Grate in an ounce or so of butter and mix in.
Remove the dough from the fridge, split it into two unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece and line a greased deep pie dish.
If you want to blind bake the base: Return the smaller piece to the fridge. Prick, cover with foil and add pie weights. Bake in a pre-heated medium hot oven** for about 20 mins. Do some more yoga, have a ritual glass of wine in honour of Bacchus. Try to achieve a state of zen-like calm while you await the coming of the pastry. After 20 mins, take the pastry from the oven and remove the foil and pie weights. If it’s still wet, give it another 5 minutes without the foil and weights.
**(about 180C/gas mark 5/I have no idea about Farenheight)
Add the filling to the pastry case, roll out the outer piece of your pastry and cover the pie, crimping the edges and using any surplus pastry to make pretty decorations. Pierce the top of the case in a couple of places to allow the steam to escape during cooking. You can also sprinkle a little sugar on top and glaze the pastry by brushing it with an egg yolk, or take the view that eggs are for Easter and skip it. Place your pie (back) in the oven and bake for 30-40 mins until it smells done.
Note: When it smells done it usually is and you really don’t want to mask the smell of freshly baked apple pie with incense! Smell is an excellent basis on which to judge, especially if you are prone to forgetting to check the time when you put things in the oven. Otherwise, if you lack confidence in your sense of smell, you could prick the pie with a skewer or cocktail stick to see if the filling is soft.
While your pie is cooking, be sure to play it some Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. It may not help with the cooking process, but it will pass the time in a tranquil and calming way whilst you toast Bacchus once more with another glass of vino.
Serve with your choice of cream, ice cream or custard and enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this post and the recipe. You can continue on you journey through the Blog Hop using the links below, but please leave a comment before you go 🙂