In a small mixing bowl mix together diced apples and fresh pesto until apples are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
In a small mixing bowl; beat cream cheese until smooth. Add shredded cheddar, butter, lemon juice and smoked paprika and beat for 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Remove shells from the freezer. Preheat oven to 350′. When oven is heated; place shells on a baking sheet and fill each one with 1 tsp. of the cheese mixture. Bake for three minutes; or until warmed through and puffed. Remove from oven and spoon 1 TBSP. of the pesto apples on top of each tart.
Growing up on a ranch and having large weekly family dinners with at least 30 people gave Figone a passion for cooking and food. Figone speaks fondly about these dinners saying, “My grandmother loved doing all the cooking … I, growing up, wanted to be down at the barn feeding calves but my mother kept me in the house. I hated it at the time but now I have to say I thank her because … I’ve just won another World Championship with my cooking and I never imagined any of this, truthfully.”
Figone’s professional cooking started five years ago when a neighbor helped her realize her talent. Figone was baking focaccia bread for one of her neighbors to take to work and soon her neighbor’s coworkers were requesting and buying Figone’s focaccia. Figone then secretly submitted her focaccia recipe to Taste of Home’s recipe contest and won. It was her first published recipe and the start of her cooking career.
The next step for Figone was participating in her first live cooking competition at the Gilroy Garlic Festival where she, again, won. From there things took off and she went on the NBC TODAY Show for their burger battle and to the Annual Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle where she won and was sent to Scotland for the Annual World Porridge Making Championship. In the last year Figone was on TNT’s reality show On the Menu with Emeril Lagasse and Ty Pennington.
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