We like bacon, we really do. Those thick strips of pig know how to jazz up a dish, don’t they? It’s the summer, and all we can smell on the streets of Los Angeles are bacon wrapped this and bacon wrapped that. Specifically, we’re referencing the street vendors we adore who shell out bacon wrapped hot dogs. Yeah, they’re the best! But we digress…when we think of bacon, we think of smokey, hickory, grill-y flavor. It’s the olfactory essence of its character that makes bacon stand out. We wanted to make a mini grilled dessert treat using bacon, so we racked our feeble brains to see what was still floating around in there. You know, there are always recipes that you see out there on this wide ‘net and vow to make. Well, we were drawing a blank, so we had to come up with something. These two bite sweet meal enders were the ticket.
We didn’t expect that these would turn out as good as they did. We knew that the separate ingredients on their own–apples, gorgonzola, bacon, puff pastry–were always great, but sometimes combinations don’t turn out the way you think they should. This far exceeded our expectations. Even though there were enough to feed several people, we are greedily ashamed to admit that each and every puff was demolished by only three people. Shame disappeared quickly as we high fived each other for yet another delicious victory. What can we say? We’re easily excited. You’ll be doing behind the back, over the shoulder, double helix spin high fives too when you try them. Oh yeah, and we submitted these for NPR’s Grilled Dessert contest!
Sweet Apple and Bacon Puffs with Pomegranate Glaze – Serves 6 to 8
2 medium apples, cut into 8ths
8 slices bacon, cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces gorgonzola
8 ounces pomegranate juice
1/2 package puff pastry, thawed
Toothpicks, soaked in water
1. Roll out puff pastry. On a lightly floured surface, slice into 16 rectangles. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake according to package directions in a preheated oven. Remove from oven and pop a hole into the top of each one with your finger. Set aside.
2. As puff pastry bakes, place the butter in a sauce pan over medium flame. Once hot, add apples and all of the spices, brown sugar and salt. Stir well and cook until apples just begin to soften, approximately 4-6 minutes. Remove apples from the sauce pan and place into a separate container to cool slightly.
3. Pour pomegranate juice directly into the spiced brown sugar that was just used to flavor the apples. Stir well, turn heat to medium high and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Test this by dipping in a heat safe spoon or spatula and running a super clean finger through the liquid. If the line stays clear and none of the glaze runs through it, you’re done!)
4. While glaze reduces, spread bacon strips down on a flat surface. Top each one with an apple slice and a bit of gorgonzola. Wrap bacon tightly around apple and cheese, pinning it closed with a toothpick.
5. On a preheated grill, place bacon wrapped apples directly on the grill and cover with the lid. Cook, turning when necessary, until bacon is done, approximately 8-10 minutes.
6. As apple bacon parcels finish cooking, lay puff pastry pieces onto the grill, cover again and allow to heat until warm. Top each puff pastry with the apple bacon, remove toothpicks and serve drizzled with pomegranate glaze.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
UPDATE 6/29/09: We found out that this submission to the NPR contest was deemed one of the three finalists! Excitement abounds! Listen to NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday, July 5 for the official announcement. Keep your fingers crossed.
UPDATE 7/5/09: OK, so we didn’t win. Oh well. We’re happy to have made it to the final three. Check out the others here on NPR’s site!