Black pepper is something we take very much for granted but it is a special ingredient, which comes from a flowering vine that grows in tropical regions. When harvested, the small green fruits are briefly cooked and this turns them black. They are then dried and exported around the world. My speckly apple cheese is a wonderful way to celebrate this remarkable spice; I love serving it with a handcrafted mature Cheddar. If you like, you can place a few walnut halves in the base of the jars or small dishes at the same time as adding the extra pepper, so when the cheese is turned out the walnuts will be on the top.
If you’re using small jars or ramekins to shape the cheese, brush the insides with a little oil. If using a 10cm × 20cm heatproof dish or loaf tin, line it with baking parchment, allowing plenty of overhang.
Recipes from Pam the Jam: The Book of Preserves by Pam Corbin (Bloomsbury, £22)
- Olive oil a little, or sunflower oil (optional)
- Cooking apples 1kg
- Cider 500ml
- Granulated sugar 400g
- Cracked black pepper 1-2tsp, Bought or coarsely crushed, plus a little pinch extra if needed
- Sea salt a pinch of
- Walnut halves 10-12, (optional)