It all started when our friend Miguel from Hell suggested he make us corned beef and cabbage for St Patrick’s Day this year. But, we should do it on Friday or Saturday because it would of course involve Irish whiskey. And probably better to do it at our place… uhhhh, OK!
Friday was out because David was on his bi-weekly Toronto commute. Realizing that Saturday was also 3.14, i.e., Pi Day, I offered to procure pie for dessert. As it turned out, David didn’t make it home Friday night, stuck in Chicago. So finding ourselves in SF this morning, we went to Noe Valley for bagels and coffee. And finding the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market conveniently across the street from the cafe, we decided to check it out. Maybe there would be a pie seller! There wasn’t but there was a bacon seller… who had some lovely Applewood smoked locally grown bacon (although the bacon was actually made in MN, the pigs were grown in Vacaville). We also met a farmer from Dinuba dissing Bakersfield. Not that I could really stand up for Bakersfield, but it was fun to chat with him about the evils of cotton field pesticides.
Back at home and wondering what to do about my pie situation, I see that my brother Carl has posted a recipe.
Well now… As much as I love chocolate and pie, I’m not really a big fan of chocolate pie. But chocolate covered bacon is a truly fabulous thing. And we do have bacon, and we need pie…
So, I read the recipe, figured out what substitutions I could make to account for the things I didn’t have, and set out to make my version of Spicy Pi Bacon Squared.
1. The Crust
I hate making crust, but this recipe was enlightening: Melted Butter. I was excited that I had exactly enough butter (10 T) for this. I substituted in brown sugar, fumee de sel (not the full teaspoon – so as not to elevate David’s high blood pressure), and 1/3 c masa harina for the stated ingredients to give it a more down-home southern taste.
2. The Bacon Brittle
In my excitement to make the crust, I realized I had used all my butter. So, I used bacon grease instead. Also, I don’t buy corn syrup, so I used maple syrup instead. And as above, I used all brown sugar and only a tiny bit of fumee de sel. Lesson learned: brittle needs corn syrup and butter. So I ended up with candied bacon goo instead… Not the worst thing in the world! I’ll just slide it onto the top of the pie, I figure. It was at this moment I decided that I really do -need- a silpat.
3. The Chocolate Pudding:
For this, I used 1% milk (with 1/4 c half-n-half), 3 whole eggs (instead of 6 egg yolks) and only 1/2 c brown sugar (I mistakenly used the 1/4 cup instead of the 1/3 cup), because otherwise it be just way too rich… I also used 1 Tablespoon of Jack Daniels (instead of vanilla). And since David’s decade-old cayenne was a little scary looking, I used our slightly fresher chili pepper flakes from the Laurel Farmers’ Market. I also stirred the leftover bacon bits with the chopped chocolate… Question: How many slices of bacon in 1/4 c of bacon bits? Answer: about 3, not 5. And I conveniently forgot the butter — I considered using canola oil, but decided that I don’t usually put butter or oil in pudding so why would it need it?
It came together quite nicely and is chilling in the fridge. I had some leftover ganache from the half-birthday cupcakes, so I rolled that into little truffles and covered them with a nice hot paprika and cinnamon mix.
I’ll post the tasting results later, if we survive it…