Bacon chocolate custard with chocolate soil and sour cream pearls

Ok yes this recipe is all kinds of insanity. But mostly good kinds of insanity, I like to think.

The flavour of the bacon in the chocolate custard is subtle, as it comes from bacon-infused milk (yeah I thought I was being original and unconventional with my creation of bacon-infused milk, until I stumbled across a blog article all about how chefs in a few restaurants make bacon-infused milk and thicken it with gellan to make, essentially, bacon cream — then I didn’t feel so original, but I did feel less insane). The overall taste of the pudding in the end is of slightly bitter chocolate but just slightly richer and more resonant. And maybe a bit smokey. And bacon-y. I don’t know, just try it. It’s interesting.

And chocolate soil is fantastic. You can and will put it on everything. You know when you make a cheesecake and you sometimes make the crumb base by processing biscuits and butter together? This is kind of the same idea, but about a thousand times better. And it really looks like soil. But nice soil, soil that you wouldn’t mind eating.

As for the sour cream pearls — I hadn’t even considered how spherification-friendly dairy products might be. They have sufficient calcium in them already to react in an alginate bath to allow for reverse spherification. Tremendously convenient.

Bacon-infused milk

600mL milk
3 rashers of bacon, fried or baked until crispy

This is the same as the infusion process I’ve described before, and really requires minimal effort. Just place the bacon in a muslin bag and knot the bag closed. Put the bacon and the milk in a slow cooker on low and leave for about 8 hours to let the flavour of the bacon infuse into the milk. After the time is up, remove the bacon in its bag and chuck it since it’s not very appetising any more (you can try to save the bag, if you can be bothered trying to get the bacon smell out of it by putting it in the washing machine or something).

Bacon chocolate custard

600ml bacon-infused milk
190ml pouring/thickened/heavy cream
3 tbs cocoa powder
4 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbs cornflour

Put the milk and cream together in a saucepan and heat on medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the cocoa powder, egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until smooth (if the mixture is too thick and sticks in lumps to your whisk, add a couple of tablespoons of the milk and cream mixture — you want it to be a smooth thin paste without any lumps). Slowly pour the rest of the milk and cream mixture into this one and stir until combined. Pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Keep stirring the mixture constantly over a medium heat until it starts to thicken. Do not let it boil — it only needs to be at about 70°C to thicken. It’s ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon nice and thickly, and you can draw your finger through it to make a line and the line stays in place.

Spoon it into serving dishes such as individual ramekins (should fill about 4-6 average ramekins).

Chocolate soil
Recipe from The Curious Blogquat here, although I’ve scaled it back a bit.

125g caster sugar
125g almond flour
75g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
small pinch of salt
63g melted butter

Preheat oven to 150°C. Whisk all the dry ingredients together then stir in the melted butter. Keep stirring and breaking up the clumps until everything is well combined. It might not look like it’s going to combine, but don’t worry, it will.

Spread the mixture as thinly as possible across a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes (you’ll be able to smell when it’s ready). Allow the mixture to cool, crumble any large remaining lumps.

Sprinkle the chocolate soil over the bacon chocolate custard, and store the remainder in an airtight container.

Sour cream pearls

2 tbs sour cream
1-2 tsp milk
3g sodium alginate

Make the alginate bath by dissolving the sodium alginate in 500ml of room-temperature water (it will probably require the use of a stick blender). Allow to stand for about 2 hours.

Whisk the sour cream and milk together with a fork. Basically, you want a mixture that is still thick, but just thin enough to form droplets when you drop it out of the syringe. If it’s too thin, it will just hit the surface of the bath and splatter.

Drop the sour cream mixture out of the syringe and leave in the bath for about 30 seconds. Remove with a draining spoon, then quickly rinse in a plain water bath. Place these sour cream pearls on top of the chocolate soil on the custard and you’re ready to serve.

  3 comments for “Bacon chocolate custard with chocolate soil and sour cream pearls

  1. June 26, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    This is definitely the kind of thing I would expect to find in a gourmet restaurant rather than in someone’s home. I’m amazed by your inventiveness! The bacon cream sounds downright amazing…it’s going to be worked into my life…somehow.

  2. June 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Can you please move to Canberra and come and be my everything? Please?

    And I’m not even a fan of bacon (two years in a cafe making endless bacon and egg rols = two years too many)! I have, however, eaten Vosges’ Mo’s Bacon bar (bacon in chocolate) multiple times, so I definitely agree with you that the smoky flavour of bacon can work in chocolate.

    I’d also like to plant myself in that soil and grow grow grow [outwards], thank you very much.

  3. June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This sounds like a dish to give Heston Blumenthal a run for his money as molecular gastronomy extraordinaire!!

    Being a vegetarian, the bacon cream doesn’t interest me from a taste point of view, but I do have an appreciation for the inventiveness. I love dishes that are a little different and out of the ordinary.

    I’m going to have to try the chocolate soil. It sounds delicious and I can picture it being used in so many things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *