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Apple Gorgonzola Squares

December 17, 2011

DECEMBER 16th, 2011 — What a complicated hors d’oeuvres to name. This title only reveals 2 of 5 important components of this dish. The word “squares” could be make this sound like a blondie. (Yet, using “bites” instead evoke images of little quiches and other spherical and cubic shaped things.) Dammit.
So just what is this? Let me simply break it down:

pizza dough + braised apples in orange juice + caramelized red onion + crumbled gorgonzola cheese + toasted walnut halve.

Yes.

This all happened because my friend Sydney decided to exploit my free labor in assisting her in her responsibility of bringing some sort of “finger food” to a neighborhood holiday potluck. Really? Neighbors in Saratoga still get together and celebrate—they don’t go off and do their own things in their Benzs and with their iPad 2s? I’m impressed. Well. My turn, then.

So what did you do?
Easiest step first to do and get out of the way: toast your walnuts, which simply involves throwing them into a pan without any oil (because nuts have their own) on medium-low heat. 5-7 minutes will do, maybe ~10 if you particularly like smokey flavors. (I know I do.)

Before…

Then, for the apple mixture, finely chop 4 large fuji apples into little cubes. In a large pot, sautee them with 3-4 tablespoons of butter, 3-4 spoonfuls of dark brown sugar, a couple dashes of ground cinnamon, thrice as much ground nutmeg, and some salt and pepper. However, I didn’t want these apples to be thick and saccharine like manufactured apple pie filling. So, an important step was definitely to add the juice of one orange. I decided to throw in quite a bit of pulp in there too, just extra kicks of citrus flavor.
Stew this for at least 20 minutes. I wanted it to be really soft; I was considering getting out a whisk or potato masher to make it like an applesauce, but by the end of the cooking process, the apples were so soft and tasty that I was content.

To caramelize the red onion, (I chose red for a vibrant variety of color) chop it finely and sautee them ~2 tablespoons of butter. I think you are typically expected to add more butter, but instead, I just fed the mixture a little bit of water two times, to prevent it from burning and to keep it moist. To compensate for the tastelessness of water, I added some more salt.

…after!

For assembly, roll out pizza dough (we got the plain and the garlic & herb ones from Trader Joe’s) quite thinly into a rectangular shape. Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares (probably 2″x2″; we weren’t completely consistent).
Spoon the apple mixture onto the dough squares, and press them into the dough. That way, they are better incorporated into the dough, and they’re less likely to fall off.
Don’t overload the dough. There are more ingredients, and heaps and piles just aren’t classy.
Next, put just a little of caramelized onions in the center. Then, press a toasted walnut halve on top.
Next, if you like pretty melted gooey cheese, then sprinkle some gorgonzola on top before baking it at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, whenever the dough’s done. However, if, like me, you want your cheese to retain some of its oblong shape and chewy texture, then sprinkle the cheese on immediately after you take it out of the oven and it will melt just slightly.

Amazing flavors. Hearty sweetness from the apples, with a refreshing accent from the orange, then the buttery, savory, tangy onions, sharp, creamy gorgonzola and a smokey, woody, crunchy walnut, all on a lovely thin square of pizza dough (so much better than any cracker).

Lessons learned?
Always let creativity go unbridled… but don’t let it leave your nuts and apples to char and burn.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 24, 2011 3:42 PM

    oh my GOD this sounds DELISH.

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