Easy and delicious, that’s this Zippy Apple Cheddar Slice. All you need is some store-bought puff pastry, a jar of your favourite hot pepper jelly, apples and cheddar. I don’t know about you, but my fridge is overflowing with apples right now. I got a little carried away at the market a few weeks about and bought a 40 pound box. Made the farmer’s day and therefore, mine as well.
If you don’t keep puff pastry in your freezer, now’ might be a good time to start. There’s so many uses for it. You can top a casserole dish of stew. Plunk it into muffin cups and fill them with scallops in a cream sauce. Wrap it around salmon or beef and create a wellington. Cover a steaming bowl of seafood chowder in an oven-proof bowl and you’ve got a sophisticated entree Or, you can simply make this puff pastry flatbread, slice it and serve it as an easy appetizer.
For the hot pepper jelly, I was inspired by a gift of TR Habanero Jelly I recently received from a Food Artisans of Alberta friend – Bradley Bustard. Bradley and his wife Christi have owned and operated Thanksgiving Ranch (TR) near Pincher Creek, Alberta since 1998. Christi’s father bought it in 1975 and they took over from him.
TR is 3000 acres. When I asked Bradley what makes it so special, he moseyed down a long list of reasons. There’s the beautiful gateway followed by a five kilometre driveway to the ranch house. A creek runs through it and there’s a lake as well. In summer, there’s 1600 head of cattle grazing. Year round there’s an abundance of wild life. Lush grasslands bend with the winds sweeping down from the rolling foothills and towering Rockies to the west. A luxurious yet cozy timber frame lodge surveys the panorama before it, Christi tends the properties beehives. And, Bradley cooks all the guest’s meals.
Becoming Food Artisans
Cooking is not new to him. Bradley grew up helping his parents run their bakery in Pincher Creek from an early age. “I remember snuggling in for 5:30 a.m. naps in the shelves before they filled them with the baked goods.”
After becoming an engineer, he left the exec track at ATCO when the chance to takeover TR came because, “Christi and I just wanted to take care of the land. We’d seen lots of beautiful places in the world but we realized this place is one of them and we actually had the opportunity to live here.”
The transition was not without challenges. Bradley had only ridden a horse five times in his life and couldn’t tell a cow from a bull. Now they graze 1600 head of cattle each summer. And, two years ago, they opened The Lodge at Thanksgiving Ranch as a working guest ranch.
Together, they’ve also launched the TR brand of condiments. Bustard’s Mustard is a secret family recipe Bradley inherited from his mother. Fat Ass Caramel sauce was named by a friend who said she didn’t care if that was the consequence of eating it. The Habaneros in the Habanero Jelly are inspired by Brad’s long-time patronage at DJ Market in Calgary. The Oh Fudge Sauce keeps you from saying something worse. And, the TR honey is from the source.
I hope you enjoy this Zippy Apple Cheddar Slice I was inspired to make. And I hope we all get to see this beautiful place one day. Bradley and Christi seem to savour it all – and I think we could too.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. I just liked the jelly. Finding out about the ranch is a bonus!Print
Zippy Apple Cheddar Slice
Hot pepper jelly adds zip to apples and cheddar snuggled into a bed of puff pastry.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 – 10 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizers/Snacks
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: Canadian
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed
- 2 – 4 Tablespoons hot pepper jelly
- 1 – 2 apples, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar, grated
- 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
- Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F and place parchment paper on two baking sheets.
- Divide the puff pastry into 2 equal pieces and roll them out in oblong shapes, adding a bit of flour to your surface and rolling pin as needed to keep it from sticking.
- Place the puff pastry on the parchment-lined baking sheets, drop 1 to 2 Tablespoons of the hot pepper jelly on the pastry and use the back of the spoon to spread it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.
- Arrange the apple slices on the pastry, top with the grated cheese and return the pastry to oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped chives and a few grinds of pepper. Let cool and then slice into fingers that are easy for people to pick up from an appetizer plate.
- Enjoy with a dry white wine or icy cold beer.
Keywords: Zippy Apple Cheddar Slice