Thursday, August 8, 2013

Caramelized Apple-Beer Battered Cheese Curds with Homemade Pecan Bacon Syrup

Caramelized Apple-Beer Battered Cheese Curds with Homemade Pecan Bacon Syrup
FOOTBALL IS BACK, it's o-fish. Yep, my people, the Atlanta Falcons are back in action tonight, which means tailgating season is finally upon us. THANKGAWD. It feels like it was forever ago when I was watchin' Alabama win the National Championship and suffering the loss of the Falcons in the playoffs. But all is well because I have a new snickitty-snack to share with my loyal followers, and the tailgatin' series will start off with some fried cheese curds. Have y'all had fried cheese curds? They are kinda like mozzarella stick nuggets, if you catch my drift. I had to pimp out just a smidge a lot by adding a beer battered, caramelized apple chunks, smoky bacon, toasty pecans, comforting spices, and sweet maple syrup. Yeah, I did it, I went way over the top. But who doesn't love the classic pairing of cheese + apples? No one. Who doesn't like beer batter? Fuggettaboutit. And bacon? Well, don't get me started if you are a bacon-hater. These are extra sweet, but super-oozy-cheesy-yummy goodness. You can give them an extra spicy kick by sprinkling them with some cajun seasoning or cayenne right before serving because of course we did!! Now, let's hope the dirrty birds pull off a pre-season win tonight!! Enjoy :)
deep fried goodness.
For the Caramelized Apple Chunks:
2 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled & Cut into Small Cubes/Diced
3T Dark Brown Sugar
2T Unsalted Butter
Pinch of Salt & Cinnamon

For the Beer Battered Cheese Curds:
2/3C Cider Beer
2 Large Eggs, Separated
2T Brown Butter, Melted
3T Sugar
¾t Ground Ginger & Cinnamon
¼t Grated Nutmeg & Ground Cayenne
¼t Salt (heaping)
1C AP Flour
1T Cornstarch
Prepared Caramelized Apple Chunks, Cooked
2C Cheese Curds (tossed in a little bit of flour and remove the excess)
Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil, For Frying

For the Homemade Pecan Bacon Syrup:
2C Diced Bacon, Cooked until Crispy
2C Chopped Pecans
2/3C Lemon Juice
¼C Sorghum Molasses
2 ¼C Maple Syrup
¼t Red Pepper Flakes & Ground Nutmeg
1t Salt + ½t Cinnamon
2T + 2T Unsalted Butter

1. For the Caramelized Apple Chunks: Meanwhile, toss apples with sugar in a bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apple mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set them aside until they are cooled before adding them to the beer batter.
2. For the Beer Battered Cheese Curds: Whisk the beer, egg yolks, melted butter, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the flour and cornstarch in until just blended. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the batter sit for 30 minutes. After it has sat, add in the cooled caramelized apple chunks. Meanwhile, toss the cheese curds in some flour and shake off the excess. Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a deep and wide pan or a deep-fat fryer to 365°F. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (but not dry – dry is when it looks clumpy) and fold the whites into the batter. Dip each cheese curd into the batter to coat, and then let any excess drip off before frying them. Carefully place it in the hot oil and fry for a few minutes on each side. When the bottoms turn a deep golden color, use tongs or chopsticks to flip the curds over. Let the other side turn deep golden and remove from the oil to the cooling rack or paper towels. Repeat until done.
3. For the Pecan Bacon Syrup: Heat a skillet over medium heat and render the bacon until almost crispy. Add in the pecans and toast for a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer the mixture until it has reduced by a third. Whisk in the butter just before serving. Keep warm and serve with the curds for dipping.
4. For Serving:Place the crispy cheese curds onto the center of a plate with a bowl of the warm pecan bacon syrup on the side for dipping. Enjoy immediately while they are still hot!

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