Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not your grandma’s apple pie



I’m not entirely sure either of my grandmothers even made apple pie. My mom tells me that she remembers her mother making the occasional apple pie for my grandfather, and if it was for him, that explains why I never saw any. He was known for hiding his pies from people. Not even his adorable granddaughter (that would be me!) could finagle a piece out of him.

So, although I don’t know what my grandma’s pie actually tasted like, here is how I imagine it:

It would be the quintessential apple pie made with the utmost grandmotherly love. We would have made it together when I was staying for a sleepover, after playing countless games of Cootie and Old Maid, eating cheese puffs, and going to the book store for a special treat in her red hatchback Pinto. She would be wearing her pink, purple and white skirt that I loved so much and wished I could wear. She would never get exasperated or impatient with me when I did something wrong, and would always let me lick the spoon. We might have some fun trying on her wigs or smelling her vast collection of Avon perfumes while waiting for the pie to bake. I would be pleased knowing that later that night I got to sleep in her bed (with Granddad relegated to the couch…maybe he should have shared his pie!), where I would always, and I mean always, wake up with my feet where my head should be. And when the timer went off, and she took the pie out of the oven, the smell would forever remind me of her. (That and the smell of Avon perfume that was slightly past its prime.) The pie would be mounded high with cinnamon-sugar apples, and topped with a gorgeous lattice pastry crust. It would be my inspiration for apple pie when I got older. Until…

I decided that apple pie is WAY better with bacon!


With no offense to my grandma’s imaginary apple pie, I present to you my Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie, created as my entry for a chance to win the Baconalia challenge, a recipe contest by Foodbuzz and Denny’s.

Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie

Makes 2 mini pies

8 slices bacon (applewood smoked, center cut, thick sliced), divided use
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
2-3 small granny smith apples (2 cups yield)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided use
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons flour (plus more for rolling dough)

To make the lattice tops, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of bacon in half crosswise, then again lengthwise (to create long strips). Each lattice will use 8 strips - 4 horizontal and 4 vertical. Weave them together to create a basket-weave pattern. Place lattices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, top with another piece of foil, and finally another baking sheet to weigh down the bacon. Bake for about 17 minutes, until bacon is brown and slightly crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve.


With remaining 4 slices of bacon, chop in a small dice and fry in a large pan. Cook until bacon is very crispy, then drain on paper towels and let cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.

Once the bacon bits are cool, place 2 tablespoons in a grinder (I use a coffee grinder designated for spices) and run until the bacon is ground to a fine dust. Reserve remaining bacon.

For the pie shells, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Sprinkle flour on counter and roll out pie dough slightly to about 12 inches across. Cut out circles larger than the tart pans. Sprinkle bacon dust over each crust and press in lightly with rolling pin. Fit dough into tart pans, tucking excess dough underneath to create a thicker edge. Press buttered foil into shells and fill with beans or weights. Blind bake shells for 20 minutes. Reserve.


When ready to fill pies, peel and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter very thinly (about 8 slices each), then cut in half crosswise. In the same pan you cooked the bacon, heat the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Add apples and remaining bacon bits. Sauté until softening, then add sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Cook for another minute until mixture becomes like caramel. Remove from heat and stir in flour.

Brush the pie shells with 1/2 tablespoon of syrup each, coating sides and bottom. Fill the shells with the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. While the pies are baking, coat both sides of each bacon lattice with remaining maple syrup. After 12 minutes, place a lattice over each pie and return to oven. Bake for about 13 more minutes, until bacon is slightly crisp.

Cool slightly before cutting.


Cue the angels singing and the light shining down from the heavens; I am officially in love. I’ve long considered myself a bacon lover, but this? Words escape me…this dessert left me speechless, stunned, in awe. Sweetness and saltiness mingle, then reveal hints of maple and cinnamon with bacon running through every bit of every bite. Bacon baked into the crust, bacon mixed into the filling, apples sautéed in bacon grease, maple-candied bacon on top {gasping for breath}…my head is spinning with all this bacon-y goodness. Think I’m exaggerating? Go ahead…make this for yourself and see. Soon you too will be singing the praises of this decidedly un-grandmotherly apple pie.

Vegetarian friends be warned…I’m thinking of implementing a new rule in the house: going forward, all desserts must contain bacon in some form. Sounds reasonable, right?


Now, if only I could get in a time machine so I could really make this pie with my grandma…I think that skirt might fit me now, and I’m pretty sure I could take her in Cootie.

63 comments:

  1. How creative! I'm sure this is a Baconalia contender for sure... although someone is going to have to explain to me what 'Baconalia' is supposed to be a pun for. I've been giving it some thought and I'm still stumped!

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  2. I would never in a million years have thought to do this but I think the idea sounds like an absolute hit! Loving it.

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  3. You are officially my idol! Genius! I can totally taste that right now. Sweetness of the apples and saltiness of the bacon. You are a genius.

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  4. Love the bacon weave on the top! Very creative!

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  5. Why not? Sweet and salty are great food combinations. Must try this, I may just be a convert too.

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  6. This is insanely amazing! Wow! Very much a must try.

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite food posts on Food Frenzy.
    Please check out our community at http://blogstew.net/foodfrenzy

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  7. What creative way to weave the bacon, Karen! I will need to try that for my quiches at church! Apple & bacon....what wonderful combination!

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  8. Wasn't sure if I would like your post with that title Karen; I'm a grandma. But turns out I loved it! If I was to make this pie for my husband, be would be eternally grateful; he lives for bacon and I am stingy with it. But this is a must try for sure.
    Rita

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  9. I never thought of Apple and bacon together before, but I'll have to try it. Your pie looks so good. Good Luck in the competition!

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  10. OMG! That bacon weave is the BEST!!!! Great job! It has been quite an awesome bacon week:)
    ps-I'm drooling! I wish I had a piece right now:)

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  11. Oh my! I know exactly who will love this idea :) Would be a nice surprise for the hubby!

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  12. As you know I don't love bacon but I love this post. And I know your Grandma would have loved it too.
    Mom

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  13. I love pairing bacon with apple! Making the lattice out of bacon was a genius idea! I think my favorite part was that you made bacon dust to sprinkle over the crust!

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  14. Anything is better with bacon and I bet apple and bacon go wonderfully together. Love the bacon lattice on top, it looks gorgeous!

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  15. I want both this pie, like now! Apple pie is my favorite kind but with bacon?! It's pure love! :)

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  16. Wow. Impressive. And the bacon looks beautifully lean.

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  17. bacon and apple pie...doesn't get more American than that, now does it?! Great idea! I would have never thought to put bacon in apple pie. :)

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  18. That's completely insane! I love it.

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  19. Ok we'll bite... and bite... and bite! What a creative and delicious idea!

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  20. Greetings from Southern California

    I am your newest follower.
    I invite you to visit and follow my blog.

    God bless and have a nice Easter :-)

    ~Ron

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  21. That is freaking genius and the coolest thing for food that I have seen this year!

    You are my bacon guru now.

    Jason

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  22. Bacon and apples... What a genius idea! Who doesn't love the sweet and salty combo, and with this you'd get a smoky addition too. So neat!

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  23. Very inventive and surprisingly pretty. I think it would taste great!

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  24. Wow! Apples and bacon. Love the bacon weave on the top. I have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Another bacon winner, seriously if I was a pig I'd have a one way ticket to some tiny island right now...

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  26. OHMIGOD! My heart just blew up. It was an awesome explosion because it was induced by bacon-overload.

    Genius recipe!

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  27. Wow...apple pie with lattice bacon top! Very creative and I am sure very tasty!

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  28. Wow....I really need to try a slice of that. Bacon and pie......be still my heart. ;)

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  29. I love that your grandfather used to hide pies, hilarious. And btw, this pie is crazy! Love it!

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  30. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the first picture, they're all beautiful! I love weaved pattern you made with the bacon it's absolutely gorgeous and picture perfect. Amazing job, wow! =]

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  31. What!? This is amazing and so smart. This is a winning recipe if I've ever seen one. So creative--how can anyone even top this? Great job! And they look so cute too.

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  32. A bacon weave!! it is pure genius!! Love it to pieces! You are so right, bacon does make everything better!

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  33. WOW! This is super delicious! Bacon on apples is REALLY creative! Wish I could have some right now!
    Happy Easter, Karen to you and Andy. Have a lovely Easter weekend!

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  34. OK....this is the best thing I have ever seen! Love, love. love! The recipe and photos are perfect!!!!

    Ahh, I also remember the Avon perfume...funny and brings me back... :)

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  35. WOW!!!! This apple pie sounds like an incredible combination that I've never seen or heard above before. Superb photos!

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  36. Whoa! This is the most unique recipe I saw this week! Your recipe will be a great topic this weekend's gathering. Haha. LOVE IT!

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  37. very sweet write up...quirky funnily put. lovely pics and a premium recipe...i think the Easter fill up is done!

    Happy Easter!!

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  38. WOW! I would have never thought about putting bacon on a pie... but now that you've done it, I can't imagine any other way TO do it, great photos, as always and what great flavors!

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  39. Oh my gosh... bacon apple pie. I think I just fell in love with a dessert.

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  40. This is pure genuis!! I really really want to try that, I bet it's like a taste explosion in your mouth!

    Also, what is it with grandmas and Avon perfumes? Your gran does sound lovely though :)

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  41. so so so awesome. You have a new fan.

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  42. Having made oven pancakes with bacon (or sausage) and apples for years, I can't figure out why this never occurred to me. Brilliant! Thanks

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  43. Wow! This is so unbelievably creative!!

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  44. nothing about this doesn't sound amazing. i'm gonig to make this this weekend.

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  45. O.M.G. I just saw this. Brilliant!

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  46. OMG I've never seen something so tantalizing and exhilaratingly incredible looking. Bacon really does make everything better! ~Megan

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  47. Baconalia would be pun on Bacchanalia, the harvest time celebration/orgy for the god of wine.

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  48. Um wow. That's it, one word. Wow. I cannot wait to try this!

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  49. Never seen anything like this! I bet it's AMAZING!!

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  50. FanTAStic recipe.

    On a further note - I suggest trying a slice or two of American cheese...it adds to the heart-attack effect, but it's just heaven. :)

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  51. This is THE BEST version of bacon apple pie I have come across. I can't wait to try this!

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  52. Baconalia is a pun for Bacchanalia, which were festivals for the Greco-Roman God Bacchus (or Dionysus).

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  53. not American cheese, but a nice wedge of cheddar!

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  54. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!!

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  55. What I want to know is, what size pie pans/tart pans did you use?

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  56. @Anonymous - These are Wilton 4 inch mini tart pans with removable bottoms. (Come in set of 6 on Amazon.)

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  57. This recipe inspired me so I tried it...it sure is time consuming, but so worth it!

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  58. very nice thanks for sharing

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  59. Is this pie good the next day? I was hoping to make the day before a dinner party as things will probably be crazy on the day. If not I will get creative; this sounds too good not to try!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shauna, I wouldn't make it ahead. The bacon top is definitely best same day.

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