08 June 2010

Popular Kentucky Derby Recipes: Bourbon Ball French Toast, Kentucky Hot Brown

*** Check out 2 popular Kentucky dishes all year long.

Calvin Borel of Louisiana won at Churchill Downs in May 2010 on Super Saver

From Denny: This post was in draft since the end of April when the BP oil spill happened. Since I live in Louisiana I've been trying to keep up on the oil spill news as it happens minute to minute. To say I'm a bit late getting out these recipes is a huge understatement. :) But my relatives in Kentucky tell me these recipes are enjoyed year round as well as featured during the Derby season.

Of course, we in Louisiana were excited that Louisiana jockey Calvin Borel won in May on the horse Super Saver. The Triple Crown would have been great but there's always another horse and another race.

Some people reading this are probably asking, "So, what's a Kentucky Brown?" The simple baked dish was developed by The Brown Hotel and caught on as a favorite ever since, becoming a Derby tradition. It's definitely one of those hearty man-pleaser foods or to dine on at the ski slopes when you are ravenous! Basically, it's a layered open-faced sandwich with turkey, bacon, tomato slices and a three cheese Mornay sauce to smother it Southern style and then baked until the cheese melts. Yeah, it's that good!

Since Bourbon is the whiskey of choice in Kentucky you knew they would come up with a killer bourbon sauce for French Toast. Both of these dishes are calorie city so save up to enjoy them!

Lynn Winter, owner of Lynn's Paradise Café in Louisville, gives a fast-paced funny tutorial of how to create these traditional dishes. Her restaurant is considered artsy, whacky and where Dali meets Southern but the food is awesome.

Kentucky Hot Brown

From: Lynn Winter, Lynn's Paradise Cafe

Serves: 6 to 8


• 1 loaf of sourdough bread
• 2.5 pounds of roasted turkey breast
• 4 large tomatoes
• 1 pound of bacon
• 6 salted butter
• 1/4 cup of diced onion
• 1/2 cup of flour
• 1 quart of milk
• 1/2 cup of cream
• 1.25 teaspoons of salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 whole cloves
• 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
• Dash of olive oil
• 1/4 cup of sugar
• 1/2 cup Pecorino grated
• 1 cup grated Swiss (Gruyere or cave-aged Emmentaler)
• 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese


For the Mornay sauce:

Make the white roux. In a medium saucepan on low heat place butter and diced onions. Sauté until translucent. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Cook the roux until you get a faint nutty aroma. Do not let brown.

For the sauce, combine milk, cream, salt and cayenne pepper in a separate saucepan. Tie a bay leaf and cloves in a cheesecloth ball or tea ball. Heat to simmer.

Pour in the roux while whisking continuously until the roux begins to thicken. Remove sack or tea ball. When thickened, add 1/4 cup Pecorino, 1/2 cup of Swiss and 1/2 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese. Whisk until cheese is thoroughly incorporated.

For the roasted sweet tomato slices:

Brush four large firm ripe tomatoes with olive oil. With tongs, hold the tomatoes over flame or roast in oven. When slight color appears, toss in to bowl with 1/4 cup white sugar. Core then slice.

For the Kentucky hot brown:

Cook bacon and set to the side. In a flat-bottomed ovenproof bowl, place one slice of sourdough bread, top with a touch of Mornay Sauce, 6 ounces of turkey breast, sliced roasted tomatoes, two slices of bacon and cover with 4 to 6 ounces of Mornay Sauce. Sprinkle reserved Pecorino and sharp cheddar cheese.

Place in oven on 375 degrees for six to 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

Garnish with sweet dried tomato slices and tomato confetti.

Bourbon Ball French Toast

From: Lynn Winter, Lynn's Paradise Cafe

Serves: 6


• 7/12 cup Kentucky Bourbon
• 2 cups half and half
• 2 quarts heavy cream
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1.25 cups milk
• 1/8 cup water
• 6 eggs
• 3 egg whites
• 4 large egg yolks
• 3 cups sugar
• 4 teaspoons cornstarch
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (homemade is best)
• 1.25 teaspoons ground nutmeg
• 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 3.25 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2.125 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 loaf of cinnamon swirl bread
• 6 cups pecans or pecan pieces
• 1 pint fresh sliced strawberries
• Dark chocolate syrup
• Butter or oil for frying
• Dashes of powdered sugar


For the French toast batter:

Beat the three egg whites with nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the milk. Set aside.

For the Kentucky Bourbon whipped cream:

Whip heavy cream in chilled mixer until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and fold in 1/4 cup of Kentucky Bourbon.

For the sugar spiced pecans:

Beat three egg whites with water until well combined. Add 1.5 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 3/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg nutmeg to egg mixture and mix well.

Add six cups of pecans to wet mixture and toss and stir to coat. Transfer to full-size sheet tray covered with non-stick spray. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes

Stir bringing the outside edges of the pecans to the center. Cook for 21 minutes, stirring and rotating at seven-minute intervals. Place on a speed rack to cool. Store in an air tight container.

For the Bourbon vanilla custard:

Heat half & half and 1 cup whipping cream in small saucepan over low heat, until the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk four large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and 4 teaspoons cornstarch in a stainless steel bowl for about two minutes or until mixture thickens and lightens in color.

Slowly pour hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/3 cup of Kentucky Bourbon.

Serve immediately or hold over a hot water bath.

For the French toast:

Slice the cinnamon swirl bread into 18 thick slices. Soak the slices in the batter for about three minutes, turning to coat evenly on both sides.

Heat butter or oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Lift the bread from the batter, draining slightly and place it in the hot pan. Add only enough to fit easily in the pan. Sauté on both sides until golden brown.

Place three slices on each plate. Drizzle with warm Bourbon vanilla custard.

Garnish with chocolate syrup and Kentucky Bourbon whipped cream. Sprinkle with sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the toasted sugared pecan halves.

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