Perhaps you haven't heard. Bacon isn't just for breakfast anymore. Those salty pork strips have been invading just about every corner of the sweets world, from chocolate chip cookies to cupcakes, and, yes, even ice cream.
Owner/Chef Thad Lyman of wowed the judges at last week's with his dessert featuring bacon gelato. Starting this week, he's added it to the menu of his downtown Gig Harbor restaurant.
Lyman said his bacon gelato brings out the best of both worlds between salty and sweet.
"People love it," he said. "It tastes like a rich salt-water caramel."
If you order the dessert at the restaurant, the gelato will arrive sitting atop a banana fritter sitting on a rice crispy base.
For folks who want to whip up their own at home, Lyman has generously provided us with the recipe.
Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 1/2 pint
For the candied bacon:
- 5 strips of bacon
- About 2 teaspoons light brown sugar for each piece
For the gelato custard:
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 ounce salted butter
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 duck egg yolks or 5 chicken yolks
- 2 tablespoons whiskey
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Depending on the length of the bacon, sprinkle 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the syrup on the tray. Continue to bake until almost mahogany in color. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
Once cool and crisp, chop the bacon into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)
To make the gelato custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Add the half half-and-half and cream. Return to a boil.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Then very slowly add the hot brown sugar and dairy mixture to the yolks, while whisking constantly as you pour in order to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula. Cook until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Set a bowl into an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top. Strain the custard into the bowl over the ice bath and cool to about 40-50 F .
Add whiskey, vanilla and cinnamon. Refrigerate the mixture until it's thoroughly chilled.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the gelato from the machine.