2014 Gravenstein Apple Fair cooking demonstrations

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Tartlets with Gravenstein Apples, Caramelized Onions,
Pancetta & Valley Ford Highway One Cheese
Chef Anne Cornell, Relish Culinary Adventures
Makes 32 tartlets

2 Tbsp           olive oil
1½ lb             yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp             kosher salt, plus more, to taste
2 Tbsp           unsalted butter
1 lb               Gravenstein apples, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 tsp             brown sugar
8 oz               pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1½ oz.           Valley Ford Highway One cheese, coarsely grated
2 Tbsp           minced fresh chives
1 tsp             chopped fresh lemon thyme
1/8 tsp           freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 package      frozen puff pastry dough, thawed (1 lb.)
1                  egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp water

Position a rack in the upper third and another in the lower third of your oven. Preheat to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to cool.

Add the onions to the same pan (yum, pancetta drippings!) and turn the heat to low. Add 1 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the onions are deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.  (If the onions start to cook too quickly, add a couple of tablespoons of water). Transfer cooked onions to a large bowl.

In the same pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and sugar and toss to coat the apples. Cook, stirring, until the apples have softened and are just starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onions and stir in the reserved pancetta, chives, thyme and black pepper. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing the squares about 1 inch apart. Dock the squares by poking with the tines of a fork. Brush the pastry squares with the egg wash and place a heaping 1 Tbsp filling in the center of each square. Top each tartlet with a generous pinch of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake until the pastry is crisp underneath and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes, swapping racks half-way through the cooking to ensure even color.

Let the tarts cool to room temperature and serve. 

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