Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maple Custard Pie & Candied Bacon

I know. I didn't think I'd ever go there but I did. I've always been very apprehensive about the whole bacon in desserts thing. But that was before I made candied bacon. And this Maple Egg Custard Pie. Each thing on its own is perfectly respectable, and quite delicious. But put them together and omgholyshizzwhatisthisamazingness?! I didn't expect the addition of the candied bacon to make such a difference to this pie, but I was slightly underwhelmed after trying a slice of the pie on its own and then completely amazed by the effect of the crunchy, salty and caramelised bits of bacon. It made all the difference.
What is candied bacon exactly? It's very simple; thin strips of streaky bacon, slathered in a layer of brown sugar or maple syrup and baked to a crisp. It reminds me of Bak Kwa, the thin Malaysian Grilled Honey Pork that I love so much. The sugar gives the bacon this amazing toffee sheen and mellows the saltiness of the bacon, making it perfect for adding to very sweet desserts. Just like this pie. I adapted an American-style Egg Custard Pie (sort of like a huge custard tart for Australians), switching the sugar in the pie for some pure maple syrup. This gave the filling a jolt of extra flavour and a lovely golden colour. I've always been a big fan of the maple syrup and bacon combination. Some people might think it's pretty disgusting but I'm definitely in a sweet/salty combination phase. I'd say this recipe is about on par with the Popcorn Fudge for weirdness. But I think I like this one better because it's not quite as sweet, and I love bacon so friggin' much. Bacon is the thing I turn to when I'm feeling really, really rotten. For example, when I stabbed a hole all the way through my finger (don't worry I didn't post a photo of it) the first thing I did after getting stitched and drugged up was get myself a BLT. It has magical restorative powers you see.
I didn't use any ordinary pie crust for this recipe, I finally tried out an adaptation of the rolled oat crust that Momofuku uses for its infamous crack pie. It's so buttery and addictive, with a lovely crisp texture from the oat cookies that you bake and then crush into the crust mixture. It might seem like a lot of extra effort to make this two step crust, but it is worth the extra time investment.
I love the fact that this dessert is filled with some of my favourite breakfast ingredients - bacon, eggs and oats. My only gripe was that because I used a biscuit-based crust, the custard made the base a bit soggy after it was in the fridge overnight. So I would suggest serving it on the same day you bake it, because it was so beautiful when it was fresh out of the oven. Or you can use whatever crust you want! But please don't forget about adding the bacon, it's just not the same without it. I served mine up as thin strips so people could take as much as they wanted, but you could chop it up into smaller pieces and then sprinkle it over the top.
Maple Custard Pie & Candied Bacon
(Makes one 25cm pie, crust adapted from Linda's pecan pie crust based on Momofuku's crack pie, filling adapted from this recipe)
For the oat cookies:
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (85g) plain flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115g) softened butter
1/3 cup (71 g) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (35g) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (100g) rolled oats

For the pie crust:
Crushed oat cookies from ingredients above plus
1/2 cup (115g) butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) plain flour

For the custard filling:
3 large eggs, whisked
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
2 1/2 cups scalded milk
a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

For the candied bacon:
175g thinly sliced streaky bacon (or the fattiest bacon you can find =D)
1/3 cup (71 g) brown sugar
(but don't do it until you serve it or the bacon will go soggy)

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) and a baking sheets with baking paper. Prepare the oat cookie crust; sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium, add the egg and beat until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture until combined. Stir in oats and spread mixture as flat and even as you can on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and set, about 20 mins, then cool on a wire rack until cool to the touch.

Break up cookie layer into smaller pieces and place in a food processor with butter, sugar and salt and pulse until they combine evenly. Add flour and pulse until just combined. Press mixture into a 25cm diameter pie dish that has been well-greased, preferably with a removable base (lined with baking paper if is not removable). You should have enough for a nice thick crust, perhaps with a bit leftover. This crust crumbles quite easily so try not to make it too thin.


Preheat oven to 205°C (400°F) and prepare the pie filling. In a large mixing bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, nutmeg and salt. Prepare the scalded milk in a medium saucepan and then gradually add to the egg mixture, using a whisk to combine. Brush bottom and sides of the prepared pie crust with the extra egg white to help prevent a soggy crust. Pour custard mixture into crust. Carefully place in oven and bake until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Prepare the bacon; preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) line a baking sheet with baking paper and pat your bacon strips dry with paper towels. Lay bacon strips in a single flat layer on sheet and then sprinkle brown sugar or equal amount of maple syrup over the top of the bacon. Bake until crisp, around 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack, use paper towels to dab off any excess bacon grease. Can be stored in an airtight container overnight. Pie is best served on the same day it is baked but can be refrigerated overnight. Do not place bacon on surface of pie until ready to serve.
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  1. I have always loved maple and bacon crepe. This is a must try. btw love the quirky plate

  2. This is practically a breakfast food. PIE FOR BREAKFAST!

  3. OMGHOLYSHIZZ indeed!! This is like heaven in dessert form! but I don't think this is a weird combo at all hee hee and hope ur finger is ok!!

  4. I love the maple syrup and bacon combination (especially when there's pancakes involved too!) so I can definitely see how this dessert would work. And Lisa is right, the number of breakfast foods in this recipe means that you could probably eat this pie for brekky! so unhealthy but so good

  5. Sounds like the perfect combination to me!!

  6. Okay, that pie looks amazing. I'm drooling over here!
    Seriously though, although I think I need the pie, I really truly absolutely NEED that cute kitty plate! Where ever did you find it? I'd love you forever if you let me in on your kitty place source ;)

    <3 MuffinLovesBiscuit

  7. Mrs. Biscuit - Thank you! I got the plate from Urban Outfitters :) I'm not sure if they still sell it, I will have to search through my email for a link to the product page, will let you know if I find it!

  8. can i have your babies? this sounds totally amazeballs

  9. This is definitely insane!! That maple custard looks firm, smooth and silky, I just want to dive into it and have a slice..

  10. Its a shame I'm a vegetarian, however I have lots of bacon loving friends/ This is a must try.

  11. OMG.
    I have to try that!

    I always loved the Dutch pancake version with bacon and confectioner's sugar (so good!).
    This recipe here sounds like heaven!

  12. genius combination - to put maple pie with the candied bacon. i think this is a bacon-in-dessert combo that's actually smart and makes sense rather than just "hey, let's put bacon in EVERYTHING". i know it's tempting, but still, not creative.

    i wonder if you could actually put the bacon bits *inside* the custard before baking?...i suppose the bacon would lose it's crispiness though, but talk about a surprise.

  13. thirdculturekitchen - you're so right, I wanted to avoid the whole 'and while we're at it, LET'S ADD BACON!' trend. I actually thought about adding the bacon into the custard but my favourite part of the bacon is how crispy it is. I've had a caramel slice with bacon mixed into it and as nice as the flavour combination was I found the chewiness of the bacon a little off-putting :(

  14. This sounds positively heavenly! I took am a fan of salty and sweet and I think I'm going to have to test out this pie.

  15. I love bacon .. who doesn't ? But i am still not ready to use it in sweet treat .. still not ready :$ But when I am seeing this recipe .. it's helping me to give a thought to using bacon in dessert :D
    beautiful space you have here .. glad to find you :)

  16. I LOVE IT!! I am so going to try this at some stage :)

  17. I will have to give this a try, I love both, so together, what could be better??? I do a sweet and spicy candied bacon appetizer that is terrific! Add some cayenne to the brown sugar and wrap bacon slices around bread sticks, bake in oven and serve. They are like perfect baconey sweet lolipops. It is on my blog,

  18. Have fabulous is this? What a perfect combination. I'm thinking about baking maple and bacon cupcake for my husband. hehe

  19. This looks so amazing! Love the idea of candied bacon on top of a dessert.

  20. I love how you put this all together. The combination of it all is truly wonderful!! : )

  21. This pie turned out very delicious although it really tasted like it was meant more for breakfast than dessert. Also, the measurements seem a bit off as I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with enough crust to thickly fill two 10" pie tins. Additionally, there was enough filling to fill a pie and a half, kind of an awkward amount.
    I ended up making one 10" pie and two miniature ones in ramekins with enough crust leftover to fill a tin and freeze.
    It is a tasty and different pie I would definitely recommend for maple or bacon lovers.

  22. Megancake - I'm not sure how deep your pie tins were, I found the filling was just right for my pie dish (and you can see the original recipe link says that the quantity of filling is for one 9-inch pie). Obviously not everyone is going to have to same pie tin. At least you had too much of everything rather than not enough!

  23. hi there this looks delish!! But when i made it it was a runny hot mess.I want to remake for a contest. I just want to know how to get a firm consistency of the filling

    1. If the custard was runny then it hadn't set properly. You need to leave it in the oven for longer, as per the recipe 'bake until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean'.

  24. Hi there!
    I just discovered your blog and I love it! I wanted to make this custard pie as part of an "upside down dinner" for a birthday, where the dessert has to look like a salty dish and I intended to make your pie look like a "quiche". I wanted to know if adding the bacon pieces into the custard mixture before putting it in the oven would make the bacon "melt" in the pie? Thanks! And congratulations on this wonderfully original blog!

    1. Thanks! I wouldn't recommend putting the bacon into the mixture. The custard mixture is completely liquid and the bacon will probably go chewy/soggy and sink to the bottom.

    2. Thanks for you reply! I will try to find a way around the problem! And happy honeymoon!

  25. Wow.

    And I *thought* I had fallen in love with your blog four pages of recipes I know.

  26. I'm in the middle of making this pie, it looked so good online! But one question. Is the custard supposed to be so thin before baking? Mine is like water!


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