26th Annual Good Food Hour Recipe Contest: Bacon

Persimmon-Pomegranate Strudel Studded with Brandy-Bacon Caramel

What screams Fall more than pomegranates and persimmons…add a little smoky, salty bacon that’s swimming in a pool of brandy flavored caramel…Grandma’s Apple Strudel just got a face lift!! The persimmon tree in my backyard is what inspired me to make this recipe…this one is a home run!!

Brandy-Bacon Carmel

12 oz. sliced bacon, cut into ¼ in. strips
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup brandy
1. Sauté bacon pieces in a heavy bottom frying pan until browned and crispy; stirring often. Remove bacon pieces from the grease and set onto a paper towel lined plate. Carefully strain hot bacon grease into a glass measuring cup; you should have approx. ½ cup. Place cup with grease into the freezer (you want this to freeze for use in your crust).
2. In a heavy, deep saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Do not stir; allow the mixture to bubble until it turns a deep amber color (watch carefully so it does not burn); it will take about 10 minutes. Heat cream and brandy in the microwave just until hot (about 30 seconds). Remove caramel from the heat and slowly (in a small stream) pour the brandy cream into the caramel stirring constantly.
3. Stir bacon bits into the caramel and place into a small bowl to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours).

Persimmon-Pomegranate Strudel

6 cups Fuyu persimmons, peeled, quartered and sliced into ¼ inch slices
½ cup sugar
2 TBSP. minute tapioca
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 TBSP. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Butter; add enough to bacon fat to equal 1 cup (cut into TBSP. slices and freeze)
1 egg
2/3 cup very cold milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP. brandy
1. Toss peeled and sliced Fuyu persimmons into a large bowl with ½ cup sugar, tapioca and cinnamon. Stir well and set aside for juices to form.
2. Preheat oven to 400’. Into your food processor put flour, 1 TBSP. sugar and ½ tsp. salt; pulse until mixed. Add frozen bacon fat and butter (you should have 1 cup total). Pulse just until fat is chopped into size of small peas. Beat egg yolk into milk; set egg white aside in a small bowl. With the food processor pulsing; slowly pour yolk milk mixture into flour mixture, pulsing just until mixture is crumbly (do not over mix).
3. Dump crust mixture onto a lightly floured board. Shape into a ball and cut in half. Working quickly so the dough does not become warm, roll half of the dough to fit in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 13 x 1inch baking pan, lightly flouring board as necessary. Pour persimmons into the crust, scraping bowl, and pat gently and evenly to cover crust. Sprinkle pomegranate arils evenly over persimmons. Top with cooled brandy-bacon caramel, spreading evenly to cover fruit. Roll out remaining dough to fit over the top of the pan, overlapping edges ½ inch. Place dough on top of caramel, crimping edges to seal.
4. Beat egg white until stiff. Using your hand, spread on top of the crust. Bake at 400’ for 35 to 40 minutes; until deep golden brown. Make glaze while strudel is baking; mix powdered sugar and 2 TBSP. brandy until smooth. When strudel comes out of the oven, drizzle with glaze.
5. Let cool 1 to 2 hours for juices to set up…MANGIA!!

Serves 12

By Laurie Figone

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