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This decadently delicious pie proves the versatility of bacon in desserts.  This instructable includes not only how to make the pie filling, but also uses the excess bacon fat to make the pie crust as well as bacon extract.

Step 1: Clean Your Kitchen!

Yes.  Clean your kitchen.  What?  You just cleaned it?  Well, clean it again.  You need a clean counter and an empty sink.

Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Step 2: Assemble Your Hardware

You will need:
Filling:
- Food scale
- Pan
- Plastic cutting board
- Knife
- Measuring cup
- Spoon
- Small bowl
- Whisk

Crust:
- Food processor
- Food scale
- Round cookie cutter
- Rolling pin
- Measuring cup
- Cupcake tin
- Pie weights

Extract:
- Mason Jar
- Strainer

Step 3: Assemble Ingredients

Filling:
- Milk
- Sugar
- Egg yolks
- Bacon
- Flour
- Butter
- Bacon extract

Crust:
- Flour
- Butter
- Bacon Fat
- Water
- Salt

Extract:
- Bacon Fat
- Vodka

Step 4: Chop Bacon

Chop 1 lb raw bacon into pieces as shown with a knife.  Remember that knives are sharp.  If you are a careless or otherwise irresponsible person, perhaps you should ask for help with this step.

When done, place bacon into pan, place cutting board and knife into sink, and wash your hands. 

From this point on, you should not come into contact with any raw bacon.  

Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Step 5: Cook Bacon

Cook bacon over medium-low heat for about 20m or until slightly crispy.   The bacon will firm up after it cools, so if you wait until it is breakable before turning off the heat, it will be slightly burnt.  This is important.  If you like really crispy bacon, you can crisp the leftover bacon when you are done.  Overcooking the bacon in this step, however, could burn the grease, which might add an unpleasant flavor to your dough and filling.

Step 6: Separate Bacon From Grease

Drain the bacon grease into a mason jar along with a few pieces of bacon.  Set aside the rest of the bacon to cool.

At this point, you need to decide If you want to make the bacon extract.  The extract is optional for the filling, but takes at least a week to fully render the flavors.

If you are not making the extract, place the mason jar in the fridge to solidify and skip the next step.

Now would be a great time to taste the bacon to make sure it is delicious.

Step 7: Make Bacon Extract

Add an equal amount of vodka to the mason jar to double the volume of liquid.  That is, you want equal parts bacon grease and vodka.  Screw the lid on tightly and give the jar a good shake.  Store in the fridge for about a week.

After a week, scoop out the fat that is sitting on top and store for later use.
Strain the remaining liquid into a separate bowl and store for later use.

Any vodka is fine.  There is no reason to use anything expensive.  You can see the high-class brand I am using.

If you buy maple smoked bacon, this will produce a maple bacon extract which is amazing in cupcakes, but I find that the maple flavor is too strong for a cream pie.

Step 8: Combine Dry Ingredients for Dough

Combine in food processor and pulse to aerate:
300g flour
7g salt

If you are off by a few grams, here, it's not a big deal.  You might need to add more water later.

Now would be a good time to discuss measurements.  Get a food scale to measure all dry ingredients by weight.  Especially for flour, if you measure by volume (mL, cups, etc), then environment (humidity) and style (dipping vs spooning vs sifting) can affect how much flour actually ends up in your food. 

Also, I use metric units in all of my recipes.  Mostly, because I can never remember the cups, oz, quarts, etc conversions.  Metric is just easier.

Step 9: Get Your Fat On

You will need 113g of fat.  This can be in the form of butter, lard, shortening, or a combination.  (if you use only butter, this is about one stick).  Most importantly, the fat used must be cold.

For this recipe, I used the bacon fat left over from the extract process, which yielded 70g.  I used butter for the remaining 43g.

If you chose not to make the extract, then retrive the bacon fat from mason jar you put in the fridge. 
If you chose, however, to make the extract, then I'm assuming that you already had a jar brewing in your fridge from last week.

Of course, if you really want to make the extract and don't have any leftover fat, I suppose you'll just have to cook up a new batch of bacon.  You poor thing.

Step 10: Incorporate Fat Into Flour

Add the fat to the food processor and pulse until the texture of the mixture turns from powdered to crumbly. 

Step 11: Add Water to Flour

While the food processor is mixing, slowly pour 100mL of cold water into flour mixture.

Step 12: Pulse Into Dough

Pulse mixture in food processor until it comes together and forms dough.  The dough should be soft, but not wet.  If the mixture is still crumbly or won't hold together when squeezed, add more water a very small amount at a time until it is perfect.

When done, place in an airtight bag and store in the fridge.

Step 13: Combine Dry Ingredients for Filling

For the filling, we will be making a custard.

To start, combine the dry ingredients in a pan and whisk to combine.
200g Sugar
55g Flour
6g salt

Step 14: Add Milk

Over medium heat, slowly whisk in 700mL of whole milk.

You want this to become smooth and completely incorporate all of the ingredients together.  If you add the milk too quickly, it will splash around and be harder to combine.

Yes, you could try to go healthy and use skim milk, but it really won't taste the same.  Besides, after the sugar, bacon, and bacon fat, why are you trying to make this healthy?  Don't ruin a good thing.  In fact, the only time it is acceptable to use skim milk is if you did not have any whole milk in the house and couldn't motivate yourself to get off your butt and go to the store.  Yeah, I get that.  It's still not the same, though, and I bet you'd feel pretty guilty about it later.

Step 15: Stir Until Thickened

Stir mixture until thickened.  You want this to have the consistency of custard.  This should be pretty obvious when it happens.  If you look at the pan and think to yourself, "Self, is this thick?" then it is not thickened enough.   When it cools, it should be thick enough to eat with a fork.

This takes about 15m, during which time, you need to be constantly stirring.  If you walk away, the mixture will thicken unevenly, leaving pockets of thickness.  If this happens, and you catch it early, you can fix it, but you have to work quickly.  So make sure you do whatever it is you need to do before you start.

Step 16: Separate and Beat Egg Yolks

You will need three egg yolks.  I prefer the Alton Brown method of separation which includes a small quarantine bowl to ensure that no yolk winds up in the larger bowl of whites.   I do this because I like using the whites for meringue which requires yolk-free whites.  Also makes it easy to fish out any shells, should they appear.

Beat the yolks until smooth.

Step 17: Temper Eggs Into Mixture

Add a small amount of the flour/milk mixture into the bowl of egg yolks and beat to combine.  Continue doing this to slowly increase the temperature of the eggs.  When you can feel the heat through the bowl (not hot, but you can feel it), pour the egg mixture back into the pot on the stove and whisk together.

When combined, continue to heat on medium-low for another minute, stirring occasionally.

This is done to prevent the eggs from heating too quickly.  If you were to add the eggs directly into the pan, they would scramble and you would end up with a lumpy custard, which is not yummy.

I read a recipe once that instructed to add the hot liquid a teaspoon at a time.  That is lunacy and a waste of time.  A big ol' spoon will work just fine.  

Step 18: Add Butter

Remove from heat and add 31g of butter, cut into small squares or pads.  Mix until butter is completely melted. 

Ok, so you don't have to cut the butter up.  If you're the sort of person who likes waiting around stirring a pot waiting for the butter to melt, then by all means, drop a 31g chunk of butter.

OH, and don't use margarine!  Get yourself some actual butter.  The stuff from cows.  It's creamy and delicious.

Step 19: Add BACON!

Up until this point, you have been making a standard custard.  If you were making a vanilla custard, you would add vanilla extract; if we were making coconut cream pie, we would add coconut; etc.

Add to custard:
15mL Bacon extract (optional)
55g Bacon (chopped, cooked)

Mix to combine.

Step 20: Form Pie Shells

Roll out dough.
Use a cookie cutter to cut into circles approx 11cm (4.5in) in diameter.
Gently press dough circle into cupcake tin.  There is no need to grease the pan.
Gently press a square of parchment paper into the formed shell.
Add enough pie weights to cover the bottom.

I have used aluminum foil in the past, but find that the creases tend to push into the sides of the shell, making small holes.

You may also use a manual crank pasta machine to roll out the dough if you want to ensure a consistent thickness, or if rolling pins make you uncomfortable.

Oh, notice all the excess flour all over the place?  No?  That's because this dough is awesome!  

Step 21: Bake Shells

Bake shells at 350F for about 20-30m.  Depending on the thickness of the dough, this may vary.  You want the tops of the shells to be slightly browned.

About 5m before they are done, remove the pie weights and put the shells back in the oven.  This will ensure that the bottoms cook.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Caution:  The pie weights will be HOT.  You should be able to remove them by grasping the corners of the parchment paper and gently pulling.

Step 22: Fill 'Em Up

Fill the pie crusts with the bacon custard.

Step 23: Garnish With Bacon

Add some bacon on top.  Because you can never have too much bacon.

ENJOY!

If you have leftover filling, you could probably put this filling into a small ceramic ramekin bowl, top it with some sugar, get out your torch, and make a bacon Crème Brûlée.  Mmmmmm ... Brûlée.
Let me tell you from personal experience that these are to die for. Literally and figuratively.
<p>I'm SO gonna make it</p>
Will definitely have to try this!
Ooh, sounds tasty :)

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