Bacon might make you think of breakfast, but there’s been a pork belly-based renaissance in the food world as of late. Talented chefs and bakers have been showing that bacon is the most delicious ingredient around, which seems to hold no matter what it’s in: Savory or sweet, pie or pot-pie. Today I’ll walk you through the basics of baking with bacon – it’s a crazy, smoky, salty world out there, and hopefully this post will clear things up a bit (until you smudge it up again with bacon grease).
Where do I put my bacon?
You can’t talk about bacon baking without noticing that most people simply throw bacon on top of something where it might not fit. Bacon cake? Throw some bacon on it! Bacon poster? Glue some bacon to paper! Bacon car? Crunch up some of that pork and mix with automotive paint. Seriously though, some of these combinations are not appropriate, and here’s a good way to tell:
Does the dish usually have a salty and savory component? If you’re thinking of adding bacon just for some extra pizzazz, hold off: it might not make it taste better.
That brings us to my first suggestion: put bacon in icing! Bacon-iced donuts are a great example of a wonderful bacon pairing. They’re totally greasy and doughy, which tends to work as well with bacon as pancakes do. (This is also known as the pancake test). Cupcakes can also pull off bacon icing, and if you don’t think so, then just chomp on this bad boy:Picture via BS’ In The Kitchen
There are yet more creative ways of baconating your baking, too. David Lebovitz (my hero) has candied bacon in his ice cream, but why stop at ice cream? A candied bacon pie could be just what your old pecan pie never had: salty, fatty goodness. And then there’s the possibility of chocolate-covered bacon. Here’s a cake that’s literally built on the stuff.
Finally, let’s not forget that putting bacon on things is sometimes just as simple as crumbling it up and throwing it on top, like with this bacon-apple crumble. Who said delicious had to be difficult?
The playful combination of sweet and savory is what the pastry was made for, so bacon is definitely on the scene. Unlike prosciutto, pancetta and other frou-frou deli pork cuts, bacon is all about intensity. It needs something just as strong to offset it, and pastry chefs seem to be looking to fruit and syrup to do the job. Here are the three bacon pastry combos that are worth trying:
-Bacon and maple syrup. Literally dripping from this phylo-based baklava is maple syrup, and if you’ve eaten as many pancakes as I have, you’ll know how powerful this stuff can be (and how good it is with bacon). Be sure to use grade B maple syrup in baking, as its more complex flavor is more likely to show up even after it comes out of the oven.
-Bacon and apple. Coffee cake, anyone? Baking from this recipe might be enough to offset the memory of all those oversweet, dried-out coffee cakes you’ve had before.
-Bacon and blueberries. Weird, right? Well, it turns out that blueberries are really really sweet and bacon is really really salty, so they strike a wonderful balance when paired together. A delicious, edible balance.Picture via Serious Eats
Bacon on the brain:
You’ve got the basic principles of bacon baking now, so just to throw you a curveball, I’ve found a few recipes that are just so wild that they might be delicious. Bacon bread actually mixes in cooked chunks of bacon with the batter, and so do these bacon biscuits, which pair bacon off with sharp cheddar.
You’ve got the tools, and somewhere to start. It’s time to make to world a more wonderful place – with bacon.
This guest post was written by Andrew, a Community Coordinator at Appliance Help, a site dedicated to helping homeowners with their appliance repairs. We also love bacon, too.