It's Improv time and this month we're talking about Eggs and Bacon! Confused? Improv is a monthly challenge hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Each month we are given two seasonal foods to get creative with and this month we've got Eggs and Bacon. Eggs and Bacon? A piece of
cake ...er...pastry. **grin**
Not long ago, I wasn't crazy about the idea of using bacon in any kind of dessert. Mixing meat with sweets just seemed so wrong. Then last June I had the opportunity to try Bacon Ice Cream made by Executive Chef Julian Grainger of the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel....it was topped with a Bacon Lollipop (!) and it was fabulous. Still, I was hesitant to try it at home. An Egg and Bacon Improv theme was just the ticket to get me motivated....it was time to try Candied Bacon.
I searched the Internet for the bacon recipe and was most inspired by the one posted by Recipe Girl. Simply mix some brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and coat both sides of the bacon slices. Put an oven safe rack on top of a parchment lined baking sheet; spray it with cooking spray. Arrange the bacon slices on the rack and bake at 350 degrees F. Since I only had thick slices of bacon, I baked mine for just about 30 minutes. Watch it carefully near the end, to make sure the bacon doesn't burn.
Frankly, I had no idea how I was going to use the bacon after I made it...the dessert just evolved after these beauties emerged from the oven.
One of the best "eggy" desserts I can think of are cream puffs. Made from just a little water, butter, flour, and eggs, they are not only easy to make, but they look impressive as well. They can be filled with whipped cream or custard or chocolate mousse. If you fill them with a scoop of ice cream, you get to call them "profiteroles" and you are immediately elevated to the status of fancy schmancy baker. Look at how easy these things are to make:
Simply combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of butter (I used unsalted), and a pinch of salt into a medium sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil and add 1 cup of flour all at once. Stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball. Let this cool for 5 minutes.
The hardest part is the workout your arm gets from beating the eggs in....
After the mixture has cooled for 5 minutes, add 4 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture should be smooth and shiny when you are done.
Next, use a cookie scoop to drop the batter onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and browned. Immediately cut a small hole in each one to allow steam to escape.
Aren't they pretty? They freeze well, too...bag up what you don't use and save them for a quick emergency dessert.
When they are cool, just cut the tops off and pluck out some of the insides. Now you have the perfect vessel for the good stuff. You could even make little savory tarts by filling them with chicken...hmmm...pot pies?
Meh, it was Sunday afternoon and I was feeling a bit lazy, so I just filled these with vanilla ice cream. Now I'm thinking that some Sweet Potato Ice Cream might be good.....
At any rate, it still needed a topping, and since bacon and maple are such a good combination, I turned to the Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce. If you haven't made this yet, go do it now. I've used this a bunch of times over apple pie and bread pudding. It is life altering. Btw, one tablespoon of whiskey is plenty--it gives it just the right boozy flavor without overpowering.
Fill your profiteroles with a scoop of ice cream, pour some warm Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce over it, and crumble some of that Candied Bacon on top...that is if you have any left.
Now go see what everyone else is making with Eggs and Bacon.