Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Food Porn: Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Pig Candy


Porn doesn't do anything for me. Never has. Never will.

Wait, I take that back. I do get excited for one specific type: food porn. Those luscious, drool-worthy photos in glossy food mags? Mmmmmmmm. Yeah, that's the stuff.

Now, I'm not at all claiming that I have those kind of mad photo skills. This is definitely the more skeezy end of food porn.

But it's not the picture that matters so much as the inspired recipe behind it: salted caramel with candied bacon topping, or, to use its less appetizing name, pig candy.

The sinfully delectable, premium ice cream at a new downtown eatery, Hub, spurred the inner ice-cream maker in me. Hub had an almond praline-bourbon ice cream that was TDF. My heart skipped a beat at another flavor unavailable when we were there — bacon scotch. Intriguing. I became obsessed. But the more I thought about it, I thought wouldn't bacon and salted caramel be a better pairing?

This was pretty darn good — smooth and ultra creamy with a salty-sweet, coffee-tinged crunch from the bacon. But, full disclosure — I loved it because I will eat bacon in anything, even chocolate bars. You can be the judge — if you dare.

The recipe

The bacon vehicle (ice cream)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon gray sea salt
6 egg yolks

The star of the show
bacon
brown sugar
brewed coffee or espresso

For the bacon vehicle: Put sugar into a saucepan and heat at medium-high until it starts to liquefy around the edges. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Once the sugar begins to darken and turn amber, remove from heat and add the heavy cream, stirring to dissolve the caramel. Now, I must admit I have caramel issues and when I made this, the caramel seized into a nasty, hard blob. I persisted, though — just parked that pan right back on the burner and stirred until most of the caramel turned back into liquid. Everything turned out fine.
Whisk the half and half and salt into the caramel cream. Lightly whisk together the yolks and add the caramel cream slowly, add just a little bit at first to temper the yolks. Then, continue to add more in a constant stream.
Strain the ice cream base into a container and chill. Freeze, according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
For the most important part:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and spread an even layer of, drool, bacon across it.
In a bowl, mix together about 1/4 cup brown sugar with about two teaspoons of coffee or espresso. (Honestly, I just eyeball this part. You want a sludgy mixture that's not too runny.) Drizzle the bacon with half of the sugar-coffee mixture.
Cook the bacon for about 10 minutes and then take it out of the oven. Turn the bacon over and slather the rest of the sugar-coffee mixture on the flip side. Bake for about another 10 minutes. If the bacon doesn't seem to be crisping, then broil it until the sugar caramelizes into a crackly coat.
To serve, scoop the ice cream into a bowl and top with the "pig candy." For the wussy scaredy-cats out there, leave the bacon on the side and tentatively nibble it with a spoonful of ice cream.

2 comments:

Desert Flower said...

You had me at pig candy. This looks soooooo good.

jacquelyn said...

I have been dying to try Hub. I hear the ice cream is quite tasty!