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On the Menu: Empire Apple, Brie and Applewood-Smoked Bacon Gratin (Recipe)

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Typically, dinner at Tomás Tapas Bar & Restaurant revolves around the likes of ham and manchego croquettes and chorizo and clam strewn paella. But come autumn, chef/owner Tomás Monosi can’t resist the plethora of local apples, and so he takes a detour from Spain to create rustic American dishes like this one.

Empire Apple, Brie and Applewood-Smoked Bacon Gratin

Serves 2

1 large Empire apple
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs flour (for a gluten-free alternative, use cornstarch)
¾ cup local apple cider
Thick slice of fine quality Brie-style cheese, like the Margie from Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie
3 slices of applewood-smoked bacon

Rinse and core apple; slice thin using mandolin or long kitchen knife for great presentation. Keep slices in water until use

Render bacon in pan until crispy. Chop roughly and set aside

Melt butter in heavy pan. After butter foams, add flour and mix with wooden spoon until it forms a ball. Add half of cider and mix until paste-like. Add remaining cider and bring to boil. Consistency needs to be that of thin oatmeal. If necessary, add more cider

Add cheese, including rind. Stir on slow flame until dissolved

Arrange apple slices in oven-proof dish, pour Brie mixture over apples, sprinkle bacon over top, and broil under high heat until lightly caramelized

Serve hot with slices of thick, crusty bread, grapes, and pepper jelly from Barton Orchards in Poughquag.

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