Do you still buy the newspaper? Call me old fashioned, but I think that there is something so timeless and enjoyable about spending an easy Sunday morning leafing through a crisp newspaper. Coffee first, paper second and all is right in the world, right? Well at least it seems that way until scanning the headliners. Phew, the state of affairs in Ukraine these days…!!
On a brighter note, the other weekend after sitting down with my morning coffee and a freshly pressed copy of the Globe, I stumbled across the Life Section which usually includes delicious looking recipes to scan through (Okay maybe I didn’t just stumble across it, fair fair). No surprise, I was floored with the sight of some creative and delicious sounding recipes. One recipe that in particular caught my eye was one for a chocolate and bacon tart!!.. um, bacon? Was I really reading that correctly?
If you feel mildly questionable about the notion of bacon in a dessert, you’re not alone. It’s weird. Weird enough to make me want to have a slice to see what all the fuss was about! I decided to put caution to the wind and give it a try….
In all fairness, there has recently been a huge food trend to experiment with the combination of sweet and savoury flavours. Take this bacon and chocolate idea for example–My keen and skeptical eye has definitely noticed some of my favourite Vancouver restaurants sporting tasty salty treats for the bold and the brave!!
A local Kitsilano coffee haunt, 49th Parallel Roasters & Lucky’s Donuts at Yew and west 4th has a very popular menu item called the sticky maple apple bacon fritter. Let’s just say that it hasn’t escaped my attention that greedy little fingers snatch these off the counter ASAP. Be forewarned..! Things can get pretty frenzied in there!
So with a sense of purpose and curiosity, I dove head on into making this project. My time had come to give the bacon trend a go! Despite daunting directions such as “caramelizing the bacon,” I found that the recipe was very easy to follow! One of the benefits of baking from a published recipe in a newspaper, magazine or cookbook for example, is that you can give it a try with the knowledge that the final product will be a hit if all steps are followed to a T. Coming from a food blogger, this is strange advice, I know… haha :) But at least you can rest assured that I am the kind of food blogger who likes to use credible recipes for my readers. :)
While making the dessert, I was a little naughty and decided to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate for unsweetened chocolate. I had the lame idea to cut back on sugar, so the result in my final product was a dessert that tasted a little too healthy if you get my drift. I’m sure my cousins (AKA my lucky tart-taste-specimens) would in part agree. There was a lacking of umph to the tart with the unsweetened chocolate that I suspect would have been solved with the full bodied, sweet flavour of a rich and high quality baking chocolate as prescribed by the Globe!! So go for it!! Don’t make the mistake of listening to your inner health nut like I did, and just use that GOOD stuff why dont you!! :)
Chocolate Truffle Tart with Candied Bacon
Candied Bacon 3 Tbsp brown sugar 6 slices bacon 1/2 tsp ancho chilli powder
Tart Shell 1 1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed 1 egg yolk 2 Tbsp chilled water
Truffle Tart Filling 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 cup whipping cream 3 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 1/2 tsp vanilla 1 slightly beaten large egg
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place brown sugar and ancho chili in a bowl. Add bacon slices and rub sugar mixture into meat. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over any remaining sugar mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and candied. Remove from pan with tongs while still hot and place on a greased plate or wire rack to cool. Do not put on paper towels as the sugar will stick to the paper once cooled.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Mix in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolk and water. Stir into flour mixture and squeeze together into a ball.
Grease an 8- or 9-inch pie plate or tart tin. Pat in pastry in a thin, even layer. Prick with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. In a small pot over medium heat combine the cream, sugar and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the cocoa and sugar completely (about 2 to 3 minutes). Pour mixture over the chopped chocolate and rest for 30 seconds before whisking together to a smooth consistency. Add the vanilla and stir in the egg until well blended.
Bake tart shell for 10 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove from oven. Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle is slightly jiggly. Do not over-bake. Chill 3 hours until set.
Crumble the candied bacon into small pieces and scatter over tart. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Recipe Credit: The Globe and Mail.
And there you have it! A decadent chocolate (and bacon!) tart to start your weekend with a devilish twist. This lovely dessert stays flavourful, rich and fresh tasting for a few days when refrigerated properly! Serve the tart après dinner as per normal people would, or dare to enjoy a slice as a solo dish with your morning coffee and paper. :) I opt for the latter.
I hope you have a wonderful month ahead full of sunlit Vancouver spring days, a bike ride or two (or a few!), and perhaps an adventure to some place new…?
PPS: Yay or Nay to the “The One-Way Ticket to Mars”?
PPS: This feeling