Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Star Makeover: A Journey Through Apples & Pork

This month our challenge was to take the wonderfully versatile APPLE and make it shine.  Right now apples are in season.  No doubt a short trip through the blogosphere and you'll finds loads of apple dishes.

I am certain you will not find one like this...

- Umm, wasn't your dish last month pork and apple?!

Kitchen Hack - Yes, it was actually.

Lawyer - Can't you be more creative?  You are getting kind of predictable.

Kitchen Hack - Well, this one's a bit ambitious...

Lawyer - It's pork and apple again.

Kitchen Hack - (defeated) Yeah...

Luckily I found a group of distinguished guests to drop by and sample my creation.  I also, for the first time, had a sous chef on this project, thanks a bunch Jax!

A Journey Through Apples & Pork

I had a few goals when conceptualizing this course...

  • Use multiple varieties of apple.
  • Use three different cuts of pork.
  • Blur the line between sweet & savory
  • Blur the line between entree & dessert.
Basically, I wanted my diners to be pleasantly surprised and hopefully a tad confused.  Confusion in my kitchen is not a bad thing.  People get bored easy.  I challenge myself everyday to try and not let that creep in.  I need and must have my kitchen continue to be a source of constant inspiration for me.

Component #1

Candied Pork Belly with Fuji Apple Cream Cheese Frosting

The inspiration for this was a candied apple but I did not want everyone to have to run to the dentist.  So, instead of making a corn syrup based "candy caramel," I made a reduction of hard cider, fresh apple juice and Bacardi peach rum.  Why the hell the peach rum?  Simple, I ran out of fucking apple brandy.  Sorry!

The cream cheese frosting allowed me to use the sweetness of my favorite apple, Mr. Fuji.
  • Cream cheese - softened
  • Butter - softened
  • Powdered sugar
  • Fuji apple puree
The cooking of the pork belly went as follows
  • Oven roast. ( By this time if you ask me how to roast the belly, you're an idiot.  I've posted it 10 times)
  • Cool in fridge.
  • Portion out.
  • Make the apple reduction.
  • Quickly fry the belly, like 60 seconds, in a combo of pork fat & canola oil.
  • Coat the belly in apple reduction.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Component #2

Granny Smith Apple & Roast Pork Shoulder Bread Pudding with Smoked Bacon Crumb & Honeycrisp Apple Caramel

Somewhere in the dark, deep, twisted recesses of my mind, I've always wanted to add pork shoulder to a bread pudding.  I loved the tart punch that the Granny Smith apple provided; just perfect.

You know this is way too much writing.  My guess is that 99.999% of you are not reading here.  Then people wonder why I can post recipes.

  • Bread used was Challah.
  • Granny Smith apples were first baked with pumpkin pie spice, then pureed.
  • Custard was eggs, heavy cream, almond extract & apple puree.
  • Pork shoulder was roasted in it's own juices for 10 hours at 200 F.
  • Bacon crumb was roasted bacon, cake flour, cane sugar, vanilla extract, & grapeseed oil.
  • Finish with a light caramel syrup made of reduced Honeycrisp juice, water, & sugar.
  • Light Drizzle of the syrup.  Remember, no dentist.
Lawyer - I don't like pork in my bread pudding.

Kitchen Hack - I tried to be ironical?!

Lawyer - Can't you just make a simple bread pudding with apple?

Kitchen Hack - (defeated) Yeah...

Please check out all the fantastic apple creations my crew members will surly create.  The round up will be on my partner Natasha's awesome site...5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Wow, you really did have a lot of fun with this one! Terrific and creative dish - would have loved to try a bite!

  2. You've got a twisted mind, but I like it. And I read all the words! In fact, twice.

  3. Had to laugh about the peach rum, Laz -- bet it was a great addition though!

    And I was still reading there... ;) I was betwitched by the flavors you layered together in your bread pudding! The light caramel syrup made with reduced Honeycrisp sounds killer. What a dish!

  4. You are so creative, Laz. Definitely unlike any bread pudding I've ever made, and blurring the lines between dinner and dessert for both components is really great! I love sweet in my savory and savory in my sweet. Really great conceptualization!

  5. It looks absolutely delicious :)

    (my new page account doesn't let me like or comment on Facebook LOL so I'm here and I'm glad I visited) :)

  6. i love being confused and blurring the lines of sweet and savory :) this is pretty genius, and i love it!

  7. Love the conversation transcripts, ha! Honestly, pork and apple are such a winning combo that can be constructed in so many ways that I think it's worth exploring multiple times. Besides, you know how much I love a perfect pork belly. Also, I guess I'm in the 0.001% ;)

  8. You blurred all the line wonderful. great job, love the mix of apples and pork.

  9. I nearly spewed my coffee over the fucking apple brandy. I would LOVE to write like this :)

    This is a perfect dish, I would love to eat it.

  10. I'm with Maureen. Love reading you, Laz, and wish I could have the courage to say what you do. I'm still laughing at the peach rum and the bread pudding. Your wife must always be in hoots! As for the dish, it is certainly far from being predictable. Another amazing creation, Laz.

  11. I love this theme! I saw some recipes from Natasha, Joan, Norma and Faith and they all look amazing!Great job!

  12. Fab LAz. I had a savory bread pudding with chorizo years ago and was bowled over so I know yours will be great. The little dance that all of the varieties of apple and pork do on the plate is a delight! I love the way you play with a plate.

  13. I love all your creative takes on pork and apple - a classic pairing but such fresh new ideas!

  14. Yea, yea, I like the dish, a lot, but I especially got a kick out of reading your post. Hilarious!

  15. This is just too good for words. I want to lick the pork shoulder right off of the screen. The flavor combinations, presentation, it's all just perfect. Wonderful job Laz, way to set the bar so high ;)

  16. Wrong: My guess is that 99.999% of you are not reading here.
    I love reading your posts. The more frustrated you get, the more fun it is to read. Sorry, but it's true!!! I definitely can get behind the idea of pork in a bread pudding - that is my kind of twisted.

  17. I love what Joan said. You have a twisted mind. The blurring of the lines is wonderful. This is why I think onions go into fruit tarts and blueberries go with meatballs.

  18. Wow very creative and sounds quite tasty. I've never heard of honey crisp juice, I'll have to look that one up. I read your entire entry by the way and chuckled a bit mixing challah, pork and bacon together. Almost seems sacreligious! Great post and fun recipe. Very inspiring!

  19. I can appreciate the conversations between a Cuban and a lawyer. Genial. Great dish, as always!


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