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Happy Birthday Bacon Pie
You know what I hate? Birthday cake. I've hated it for years. In fact, I really don't remember a time that I DID enjoy birthday cake, or any kind of layered cake with that icky sugar icing and stupid tasteless sugar sprinkles. Problem is, I don't really like pie either. Or pastries, or muffins, or chocolate-anything (maybe a bite of dark chocolate every now and then). When I get ice cream, I usually get some super-tarty sorbet. I hate birthday celebrations because I sit there like some horrible abstaining skinny bitch while everybody else indulges in their lemon-custard or strawberries n' cream, but really I just can't abide the taste of cake - especially cake bought for $5.99 at the grocery store. Seriously? Eat paste. The nutritional content is about the same.
But before you start thinking I'm half-Cylon or missing part of my brain or something, I will tell you that I LOVE bacon. Actually, I love any crispy piece of meat with fat dripping off of it, it's a general rule in my life. In fact, I'm thinking of suggesting to my loved ones that every future celebration in honor of me should involve bacon - Bacon Cake, in fact. Can you imagine my wedding? How awesome would that be? I mean, sure we could have some fondant-covered chocolate-cream-filled confection, but then we could ALSO have a Bacon Cake! Three tiers of bacon! Frosting made out of bacon foam!
I decided to start small last night and put together a Bacon Pie with caramelized onion and mushroom filling. I cooked it in a pie tin with homemade crust that made me realize that I clearly don't cook pie very often because it came out rather soggy and fragile. The rest of the Pie was DELICIOUS, however - topped with gruyere! - and I'm sure our diligent readers can make their own versions (Ham Pie? Salami Pie? Pancetta Pie? Beef Pie?) at home with better crust-results. Look below! Look below!
Okay, okay, so it's not EXACTLY pie, it's actually quiche (egg is the main binder), but I figure, you bake it in a pie tin and it has crust and it's delicious, so call it whatever you want. And you know what? Take the bacon out and it's even really good vegetarian-style. I don't know exactly what you'd call it then - just Pie? Savory Pie? Quiche Pie? Whatever, here's how you make it.
What you're gonna do is get together:
About 8-10 strips of bacon. Cook until crispy and set aside.
Two cups of thinly sliced onion.
Cup or so sliced mushrooms - button or whatever you've got on hand
Crushed red pepper - a pinch or two (or three!)
2-3 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Grated gruyere cheese
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oil (this may be where I'm having my crust problem)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp milk
Prep crust: mix all ingredients, form into a ball, then put it in pie pan and work it around until it covers the whole pan up to the lip. Put in the fridge while you do everything else.
Saute onions in olive oil or bacon fat until soft and caramelized. Add mushrooms, garlic, and red pepper - cook over medium-high heat until all liquid evaporates from mushrooms. Take off the heat and let cool.
Beat eggs and heavy cream with nutmeg until frothy. Put mushroom-onion mixture in pie shell, sprinkle bacon over top, then pour in egg mixture. Don't overpour, it's ugly. Put in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until egg sets. Take out and let sit about five minutes.
Serve with heaping portions of freshly steamed/poached veggies like broccoli, carrots, or green beans (I like to poach broccoli in very salty water and tons of garlic cloves, then sprinkle it with cheese).
Put a candle on top and eat your birthday bacon pie.
Photos by k. for cmeathrell via flickr