One of the best things about blogging is learning from other bloggers what they like to eat and what is traditional fare for them. For ages, I have read posts by Canadians about combining ultra sweet maple syrup with salty bacon, and intrigued, I have wanted to try it for myself for the longest time.
This month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz gave me the perfect opportunity to try maple syrup and bacon together. She wanted to share with us the Canadian experience of a “Cabane à Sucre” (that is, a sugar shack pilgrimage), where people feast on eggs, ham, pea soup, pork rinds, beans, pancakes, bacon and pies drizzled with maple syrup and follow it up with maple syrup taffy for dessert.
The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
For my edible containers, I tried to make the bacon cups, as well as making a regular tart shell using dough left over from another project:
As you can see, my bacon cups, moulded around dariole moulds used for mini Christmas puddings, were an epic fail! I think that bacon here is cut slightly differently than in the US and Canada, and is very irregular in shape, making it difficult to wrap tightly around a mould in a woven pattern.
However, necessity is the mother of invention, and I joined the two holey bacon cups into one:
I think it looks kind of pretty, like a meaty rose, don't you think?
The bacon took forever to crisp up in the oven, not helped by my desperate addition of more bacon as they cooked to try and plug the holes as the bacon shrank. However, I do like the idea of baking bacon, because all the fat cooks off, and you are not adding more fat like you do when you fry bacon. So in my books, oven baked bacon = healthy bacon!
I don't have a photo of the mousse in the bacon cup, because the photo that I took was so bad that I deleted it, not knowing what it was when I went to write this post. Only after scratching my head for a while wondering where the photo went did I realise that it was the unrecognisable horror that I had deleted.
My verdict on the maple mousse and bacon combination is this: at first, the very salty bacon and very sweet mousse are superb together - I enjoyed the intensity of the flavour combination. However, after a couple more bites, the whole thing became too overwhelming, and I couldn't go on. This experience showed me that the bacon and maple combination has terrific potential - however, I would like to tone it down a few decibels, perhaps with a smaller portion size or playing with the bacon: mousse ratio. I actually think mini muffin size bacon cups with a small splodge of mousse would be perfect (which is the opposite to Evelyne's findings).
For the tart, I just filled a 6 inch tart shell made using Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough with as much mousse as it would hold, and cut up a piece of crispy oven baked bacon to decorate the tart. I didn't try the tart (I donated it to work), so I am not sure how this combination went down.
As I only made a half recipe of the mousse, I only need the two edible "cups" that I had.
Thanks to our host, Evelyne, for introducing me to a new flavour experinece, one that I am keen to experiment with in the future. This month, the Daring Bakers (moi excepted) have been even more creative than usual because there is a competion, so do yourself a favour and check out the slideshow on 27 April (US time) on the website of all the different edible containers for the maple mousse.