Here at 52 Weeks of Pie HQ, we debated whether or not to stick with “traditional” pies for some time before venturing out into more unusual or exotic recipes. After all, it makes sense to have the basics down before trying to get too cute or tricky. While bacon has become a ubiquitous part of our culture and cuisine (the pork industry has great publicists), it hasn’t been thought of as a traditional pie ingredient.
On the other hand, there is nothing more American than apple pie, right? While it certainly wasn’t invented in the USA (apples were brought to America by Europeans in the 17th century) it’s safe to say it’s quite iconic. It might be un-American to say this, but in fact, apple pie dates back to the 14th century.
Regardless, while we were tempted to bring you a regular, good ol’ American apple pie this week, we decided to step it up a bit with the addition of bacon. There are numerous recipes out there that incorporate bacon into the pie, some using bacon crumbles sprinkled across the top and others substituting a bacon lattice for the top crust. We went with the latter but really, basically, it comes down to making sure you have the good apples, some sweet flavorings, and the right amount of bacon.
- 1 pie crust
- 4 large Fuji apples
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 10 slices of bacon – preferably applewood smoked but any will do
Peeling apples has never been my forte but I was able to whip through these pretty fast. For my pie I used a sweeter apple (Fuji) rather than the more traditionally used tart apples, assuming that strategy would work well with the increased saltiness of the bacon. If you use Granny Smith, you might need more than the 4 larger sized apples I used.
I tossed the dry ingredients together and pulverized the brown sugar with a fork until I had a sandy mix.
I had mistakenly chopped the apples rather than slice them but no matter, with the long cooking time, I assumed they’d cook through. I coated the apple chunks in the dry ingredients, getting them nice and covered before dumping the whole thing in a pie crust.
The next part was the most fun. I arranged the bacon slices in a lattice framework across the top of the pie. This involved tucking them over and under the other slices. I felt like a little artistry was introduced with this method. I trimmed the edges that hung over the crust.
The pie was covered in foil and then baked for 1 hour at 350 degrees. I removed the foil and then baked for another 40 minutes. When I took it out of the oven, it was a thing of beauty! And it smelled pretty darn nice too. The bacon lattice work gave it a sort of a medieval look. I felt like I should dig in with my hands and use the tablecloth as my napkin.
It took awhile to cool down before I dared to slice in. However, it was the worth the wait. It met with universal approval among the taste testers.
My initial concerns about the mixture to coat the apples being too dry was unfounded. The pie was not even close to being dry, and in fact, was slightly more liquid-y than I expected. Chunks of apples, rather than slices, did not seem to affect the flavor negatively, though one tester said she’d prefer sliced apples. This one will be labeled a success!