Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 02 Dec 2008

That pie crust which foiled me so soundly a couple of weeks ago? I can now reveal what it was for…

Apple Pie with a Bacon Lattice Top

That, my dear readers, is an apple pie with a bacon lattice top. The photo was taken moments after it came out of the oven so it’s still all hot and bubbly.

More information after the jump…

This pie was inspired by a discussion with Madeline. She mentioned that she had seen rumor of this pie while cruising the internet and wasn’t that an interesting idea? I naturally had to agree that, yes, it certainly was a very interesting idea. So interesting, it seems, that I could not get it out of my head.

When I received an invitation to join the Albertellis at the home of one of Guy’s coworkers for a pre-Thanksgiving gathering I knew that the time had come to take the plunge. After all, how better to make an impression on a house full of strangers than to arrive with a dessert topped with pork?

Before I get into the details of how said pie was prepared I’ll end the suspense: it was awesome. Furthermore, it was very well received and appreciated.

Now those details.

Preheat, preheat, preheat. If I remember correctly, I went for something in the 350° to 375° range.

We all know that the first crust—which was on a trial run pie—was a flop. The crust for the real pie was made with lard instead of pseudo-Crisco-alternative. The results were about as successful (the lard was too soft, the flour to fat ratio too low). Sure, it had the structural integrity of a Kleenex, but being made of lard at least this one was a tasty crumbly mess.

The filling for the pie was nine decent-sized apples of three varieties: Granny Smith, Fuji and Cameo. It was a good combination. All apples were peeled, cored and hand-sliced as thin as possible. I mention that they were hand-sliced since I think I did a masterful job of this part and want to pat myself on the back for it. Yes, I could have used my mandoline. I didn’t feel like washing yet another piece of equipment so I didn’t drag it out and had to do the slicing by hand. The apple slices were all about 1/8th of an inch thick and prepared in record time (for a home cook). Lookit me with the m4d knife skillz.

After slicing the apples were placed in a colander set over a bowl. The apples were added to the colander in layers with sugar liberally sprinkled between the layers. This was then set aside for an hour or so to allow the extra apple juices to drain off rather than collect in the pie and make it a big soupy mess. By the end I had half a cup of tasty appley liquid at the end. Yes, I drank it. One doesn’t waste goodness like that.

The crust was docked and blind-baked before the filling was added. This normally isn’t necessary for a fruit pie like this one but considering the, um, mushyness of the raw crust it seemed advisable. I’m convinced that this step, combined with draining of the apples, prevented this pie from becoming apple pudding.

While the crust was cooling I prepared the bacon lattice top. I had never made a lattice top of any flavor before, let alone pork, but a quick tour of the internet turned up a number of how-tos for this process. I used this one from Simply Recipes{.broken_link} and was well pleased with it. Rather than building my lattice directly on the pie I prepared it on wax paper. I then carefully rolled this up in the paper and, when the time was right, I unrolled it onto the top of the pie. This worked very well both times I did it.

The filling was layered into the now-cooled crust, cinnamon added between the layers. I did not add more sugar as plenty had been added during the draining process. The lattice was then unrolled over the lot per above. Any extra bacon left hanging over the edge was tucked down between the filling and the crust. There was a lot of filling though and the bacon lattice was almost the perfect size to cover the mound of apples.

I set the whole lot onto my baking ring{.broken_link} (You DO have a baking ring, don’t you? If not I suggest you run and buy one now. No, really. Go. Don’t worry, we’ll wait…) and popped it into my pre-heated oven. Set the timer for 60 minutes. When that went off I checked the pie (thin blade into the apples) and set the timer for another 30 minutes. There was so much filling it cooked slowly and the bacon still wasn’t crisp on top. In the meantime my house started smelling how you might imagine heaven should.

Eventually the pie was done so I removed it from the oven (duh). If you’re me, you take a photo of it (see above). Really, if you’re me you’ve taken photos of every step of the process but are too lazy to post them all here. Deal.

Anyway, the pie is done. Ideally you should do this baking the day before the pie will be consumed. Why? Slicing, my dear friend, slicing. Some of you have already been wondering how in the hell one cuts into a pie like this without suffering some serious bacon-shrapnel-induced injuries. And wise you are to wonder this. If you let the pie sit over night the shrapnel-like qualities of the crispy bacon subside and it becomes merely meat. Sliceable meat. Also allowing the pie to sit undisturbed overnight allows the pectin in the fruit to set up, further increasing your chances of successful slice serving.

Once the waiting is done (yes, I know, it’s hard. Buck up little camper. As Alton says, your patience will be rewarded), grab the sharpest chef knife you have and wield it with care. I ended up having to hold the bacon in place lightly as I sliced but otherwise has no problem at all with the slicing process. Let’s hear it for keeping your knives sharp. The trial pie easily sliced into eight pieces. The real pie, as it had to serve a much larger crowd, sliced less easily into sixteen pieces. Any pie is difficult to slice into sixteen pieces, for crying out loud.

As far as serving options go, there is always the standard of vanilla ice cream. This is the way the trial pie was served to the daring Culinauts who were my guinea pigs. It went well, there’s no denying that. However one clever Culinaut, Marc, suggested that perhaps the acid of creme fraiche would be a pleasant counterpoint to the sweet, smoky, pig-ness of the pie. This is the way it was served at the real event and I highly recommend this approach over the vanilla ice cream.

And that’s it. Not any more difficult than any other pie, really. But far more interesting. And there’s bacon. Mmm…bacon…