If you missed the chance to get your hands on Cantillon’s latest Fou’Foune release, don’t fret: just pick up a bottle of The Kernel’s Bière de Saison Apricot instead.
It isn’t hyperbole—this is a truly exquisite, albeit underrated beer. One of the newest releases from The Kernel’s esteemed barrel-ageing programme, this Bière de Saison is a heady blend of aged and fresh saisons, which sits in the barrel with Bergeron apricots (the very same heritage variety that goes into Fou’Foune) for approximately six months. It’s elegant, tart, bright with apricot and lemon notes and undergirded by yeasty complexity.
Given how well cheese and saison go together, I wanted to explore that pairing here. But—to complement this beer’s beautiful apricot character—I wanted a lightness and delicacy, too. So I settled on this sweet and savoury phyllo pie: it’s flaky, gooey with cheese, but also drizzled with honey, perfumed with rosewater, and topped with crushed pistachios.
Think of this recipe as a combination of Old Rag Pie (a Greek recipe by way of Nigella Lawson, which is packed with crumbled feta, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and fresh thyme leaves) and künefe (a cheese pastry that’s soaked in syrup and is eaten for dessert in Turkey, Palestine, and elsewhere across the Levant). Or perhaps categorise it as a Mediterranean cheesecake.
Whatever you do—and whether you serve it with a simple side salad for dinner or add extra rose petals and honey for a quasi-dessert—just make sure you’ve got this world-class beer to go with.
Sweet and Savoury Phyllo Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson
7 sheets of phyllo dough (defrosted, if you're starting from frozen)
60g melted butter
120g fresh goat’s cheese
10g grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
100ml whole milk
50ml double cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp rosewater, divided
40g lightly toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Honey, to taste
Dried rose petals, to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a square 8-inch Pyrex baking tray or cake tin, add your first layer of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter (it should overhang the sides). Take two more sheets of phyllo dough and tear them into rough pieces; scrunch loosely and place so that they cover the base layer of dough.
Crumble half of the goat cheese and half of the feta over this first layer of scrunched up phyllo. Add half of the thyme leaves, half of the grated Parmigiano, and a good drizzle of melted butter.
Now, repeat. Top with two more scrunched layers of torn phyllo. Crumble the remaining goat cheese and feta over, and add the remaining thyme leaves and Parmigiano. Drizzle over with more butter, reserving a small amount.
For your last two pieces of phyllo dough, tear in larger sheets and arrange over the top. Fold up any overhanging bits of dough, and pat into place. Drizzle over the remaining butter. Make two lengthwise and two widthwise cuts with the sharp end of a knife.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the milk, double cream, eggs, and 1 tsp of the rosewater. Pour evenly over the phyllo layers and allow to soak in for 15 minutes. Top with the pistachios.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to turn golden on the top. Cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit and cool slightly for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle over with honey to taste, and the remaining 1 tsp rosewater. Garnish with dried rose petals, if you wish. Serve while warm.
Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a bottle of The Kernel's strictly limited Biere de Saison Apricot while you can.