I am spending the evening relaxing after 3 days of very intense work in my kitchen. Let's start at the beginning...I decided to enter a State Fair of Texas baking contest this year. I knew I wanted to enter my pecan pie recipe but I felt like I needed to somehow make it more exciting and unique. My colleague suggested adding bacon to it....brillant! And there just happened to be a dessert class in the bacon category of the contest-perfect!
The next step: to determine the best way of incorporating bacon into the pecan pie. I approached this with an almost scientific discipline and spent the days building up to the competition trying a variety of methods and techniques for producing the best bacon pecan pie. I dreamt about bacon pecan pie, our house constantly smelled like bacon, and my poor guy has had to endure endless conversations on the topic. I finally decided on the best way to incorporate the bacon-sprinkling it on top...it doesn't sound that ground-breaking, but trust me, it is the best way. After one final test run, I was ready for the big day.
The alarm woke me up at 6:30am and I began baking. By 9:30am, I was at the State Fair with my pie and my friends and family were there to cheer me on. The competition itself was one of the tensest experiences of my life. Watching the judges taste and evaluate my baking was kind of nerve-racking. Finally, they announced the winners-I came third!! Whilst I was really hoping for at least second, I was extremely happy, excited, and relieved to get a ribbon.
Overall, I was really happy with how this pie turned out. The combination of flavors is reminiscent of breakfast...a really gooey, yummy breakfast. It is suprisingly delicious and certainly not just for the State Fair competition.
Bacon Pecan Pie
Pastry1 ¼ cup plain flour
1 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp (or more) of very cold water
Filling¾ cup sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans *
1 cup toasted pecan halves*
16 oz thin smoked bacon
* Pecans can be toasted on a baking sheet for 15 minutes in a 350*F oven.
DirectionsTo make the pastry: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are no bigger than peas. Add the cold water a little at a time and pulse until the dough just comes together. You may require extra water. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough and line the pie tin. Trim the overhang even with the pie rim and crimp the edges decoratively. Refrigerate for 30min, until firm.
Preheat oven to 375*F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line the chilled pie with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake until dough no longer looks wet, about 20mins. Remove the weights and parchment paper and continue to bake 10 minutes more until the crust is lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the bacon pieces: Lay the bacon strips onto a plate covered in multiple layers of paper towels. Microwave on high for approximately 13 minutes until very crispy. Dab the bacon with paper towels throughout the cooking process. Remove the bacon from the microwave and cut into very small pieces. Squeeze out any remaining excess grease with paper towels.
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 325*F. In a bowl, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, salt and pecans. Pour into the prebaked pastry shell and place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes and then remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle with the bacon pieces. Press them lightly into the filling. Return the pie to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 35-45 minutes until the center is slightly soft to the touch and the edges are set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.