Derby Apple Tart with Bourbon Glaze

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 This is a special week in Kentucky.

It's Derby week! Louisville completely transforms and I am so excited to experience it for the first time. The week is full of events, parties, brunches and derby pie. Being my first year in Kentucky, I'm all about taking anything "Kentucky" on full storm and am therefore convinced myself to cook with bourbon as much as possible this week.

Here's the first recipe- inspired by a butternut squash tart my sweet friend and I made last fall. It's delicious! Be warned, it takes a bit of time to make but can be done in stages. If you want to save a huge chunk of time, buy pre-made puff pastry sheets. I just prefer all butter crusts. Total preference.

Have fun with this recipe! There's lots of freedom here! Switch up the baked fruit or the melted preserves. Just be sure to take out the bourbon if you're going to let a little nup eat it :)

Derby Apple Tart with Bourbon Glaze

Pastry (or you can buy the pre-made puff pastry sheets)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 tablespoons of ice water

3 medium sized apples
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 oz of cream cheese 1/2 package
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons apricot preserves, melted
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2  tsp bourbon

1. Pastry Dough
- (I used a food processor, however a pastry cutter or your fingertips will also work)
- store bought pastry dough also work great here! No shame. 

Whisk the flour and the salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and scatter throughout the flour mix and pulse several times until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Then drizzle the ice water over the mixture equally and pulse until it just incorporates together. To test the dough, squeeze a small handful. If it stays together you're good, if not, then add more water a 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Be careful not to overwork the dough! Visible pieces of butter ok--those equal visible places of flakiness :)

Roll into a ball and separate into four sections. On a lightly floured surface, smear out each section twice to help distribute the fat. After doing so, gather all the sections together into one ball and flatten into a 5 inch disk--about the size of a cd. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once chilled, preheat the oven to 375, take dough out of the fridge and lightly flour a flat surface. Roll out the dough to a 14x6 rectangle. Take liberty with this--it doesn't have to be a perfect shape of any kind. One rolled, transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Roll up the edges to form a crust and prick all over with a fork. Place a piece of foil on top of the pastry and then cover with another baking sheet. This will help weigh down the crust so it doesn't puff up.

Bake for 30 minutes until the dough starts to golden but isn't quite set. Remove the baking sheet and foil and allow to bake for 10 more minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool.


2. Apples
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and start your apples. Core and thinly slice 3 medium apples (granny smith tend to do best for baking) and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon overtop (for sprinkling, I found that using my fingers worked best).

Throw in the oven for 20-30 minutes. This all depends on how thinly you sliced them and how hot your oven gets. Keep an eye on them. They'll look tender but slightly brown when they're done. Allow them to cool.

3. Toppings
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and teaspoon of sugar. Evenly spread on the pastry.

Place the baked apples however you like on the pastry. I did mine on rows.

Take the melted apricot preserves and stir in the 1/4 teaspoon of bourbon. Drizzle over the pastry and top with toasted pecans.

Whew!! Now it's time to enjoy! Happy derby, folks!


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