Bourbon Apple Tartlet
Kitchens across the Commonwealth and beyond heated up as home chefs readied their recipes for our third annual culinary contest. Chef Reagan D. Hamilton of Sullivan University and Chef Supply, LLC, and Kentucky Monthly staffers carefully reviewed the submissions and winnowed down the field of entrants to 18 delectable dishes.
Our team of judges—including a cook honored by Southern Living magazine as one of the 12 “Cooks Across the South,” a food and travel writer, the American Culinary Federation 2012 Student Chef of the Year, and a handful of everyday eaters—had the challenging (and tasty!) task of sampling the top three dishes from each category. Each recipe was scored on appearance, ease of preparation, creativity and, most important, taste.
Grand prize winner
Warm Bourbon Apple Cheddar Tartlets
Submitted by Janine Washle of Big Clifty
SERVES: 4-6 (makes 12 appetizers)
1 large apple, washed and peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider
1 tablespoon bourbon
¼ cup shredded cheddar
1 package mini phyllo cups
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Halve apples and remove seed cavities. Using a melon baller, make as many apple balls as possible (1 large apple yields approximately 12 balls).
3. Combine butter, brown sugar, cider and bourbon (I use Woodford Reserve) in a medium-size skillet. Boil until slightly reduced—about 3 minutes.
4. Add apple balls, turning to coat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Divide shredded cheese among phyllo cups, pressing down as necessary.
6. Top each cup with an apple ball. Sprinkle with pecans or walnuts.
7. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until shells are lightly browned and crispy. Meanwhile, reduce leftover sauce until very thick but still pourable.
8. As soon as tartlets are removed from oven, drizzle some of the reduction over tops. Discard any leftover reduction.
9. Cool slightly before serving.