Introduction: Darn Tootin' - Bean Maple Bourbon Bacon Dessert

What is this? This is my recipe for a "custard-like" bean dessert with a maple/bourbon gelatinous glaze with freshly crumbled bacon on top. It's got a mildly sweet flavor from the beans and maple, a touch of kick from the bourbon, a nice mouth feel, and a wonderful salty-savory flavor from the bacon.

The Story: I've been playing around with Molecular Gastronomy recently, learning some basic techniques and concepts, and had a cowboy-themed dinner coming up with some friends. I thought: "Why not take some rustic cowboy flavors and combine them with science into a dessert!?" Just as this was happening, I saw the instructables bacon contest. I thought..."Destiny awaits!" So here we are...

Servings: Serves 12 (with extras for the chef). Also, it tastes good along the way. Every step has something nice to sample. Enjoy your journey.

Difficulty / Time: I'd classify this as an easy recipe (especially for a dessert), but it can take time (maybe 3 hrs all in). Cooking bacon properly...takes a good 20min. Letting each of the 2 parts set (the bean and the glaze), takes time in the refrigerator (I gave them about 1hr a piece). Also there's the boiling of the different parts and general prep and schlep. Give yourself a few hours and have fun with it....don't rush!

Ingredients:
(1) 28 oz can of Baked Beans
Agar Agar (unsweetened)
Bacon
Maple Syrup
Bourbon
(12) Cupcake Silicone Molds (or other easy to use mold, silicone is nice because it's so flexible and easy to clean)
Baking pan
Small Pot for boiling
Melon-Baller (optional but super helpful)

Disclaimers: First of all, I am not responsible for you hurting yourself in your kitchen, but if this turns out to be the best thing you ever ate, I'll happily take credit. Secondly, the beans may give you gas. If you are averse to such things...get a digestive enzyme to help out.

Finally, some of the process pictures are unappetizing...don't be put off by this!! Skip to the end if you want to see how glorious it will look! Think of it as an ugly, turd-looking duckling that soon transforms into a delightfully delicious swan.

Step 1: Build a Better Bean Cake

We'll start off by making a bean cake:

1) Blend down 28oz of baked beans into a paste.
2) Add 1 cup of Maple syrup for sweetness and volume
3) Add 1/2 cup of water for a more liquid consistency and a touch more volume.

This gives us 5 cups of fluid mix.

4) Put this fluid mix into a pot.
5) Add 5 tbsp Agar Agar  into your mix (1 tbsp for every cup of fluid you're thickening).
6) Bring mix to a boil, stirring gently the whole time (to minimize sticking at the bottom of pot)
7) Once it boils, reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes and continue stirring to dissolve Agar Agar.

8) Ladle/Spoon the mix into your silicone molds (don't over-fill).
9) Set aside in fridge to set thoroughly (about an hour -  or until it doesn't jiggle when you shake it and comes freely off mold sides)
10) Once set, de-mold into a baking pan
11) Scoop out a depression in the center of each to act as a niche for the maple/bourbon glaze

Step 2: Makin' Bacon Bits

Next we prepare our bacon, which is simple, but time consuming to do properly (about 20 min):
1) Lay out your bacon strips as in the picture below (no overlapping of the strips and minimal touching on the sides).
2) Cook on LOW heat.
3) Turn bacon semi-frequently to make sure it's not burning
4) It's getting close to done when the bacon starts to foam
5) When it's done, drain the bacon on a paper towel covered plate and pat dry (CAREFUL it's HOT).
6) Tear up bacon and chop into bits... reserve off to the side.

Step 3: The Maple Bourbon Glaze

1) Combine 2/3 cup maple/bourbon with 2 tsp Agar Agar. You can mix the proportions of the maple and bourbon to your desires. If you create more than 2/3 cup of total liquid, you'll need more Agar Agar (remember back to the 1 tbsp Agar Agar to 1 cup of liquid to thicken). You could also drink the excess mix. Whatever suits you.

2) Boil this new mix, then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring gently all the while.

3) Spoon the resulting mix into the depressions in the bean cakes you created. Make sure they're filled evenly, then go back and over-fill as desired. The more the whole thing is covered, the sexier it all looks.

4) Put it in the fridge to set (about an hour or so)

Step 4: All Together Now!

Sprinkle the bacon bits you made liberally over your cakes, and serve these delightful desserts to your favorite people.

Comments

author
Lindie (author)2011-07-25

These look interesting. At first I thought, no bacon. But it looks good with the bacon on top!

author
jhays2 (author)2011-05-09

I had some at room temperature and then the next day after an overnight in the refrigerator. Room temperature was good; cold was better. As this is the opposite of Darktoad's experience, I'm wondering if there is an aging effect. I'm not usually a fan of bean cake; but the bacon and maple/bourbon glaze made it really great.

author
darktoad (author)jhays22011-05-09

Yeah, the flavors might have had a little time to muddle maybe? The important part here is that you enjoyed it. :)


author
mary candy (author)2011-05-09

hummm I would like to taste it.
I hoppe you win;

author
darktoad (author)mary candy2011-05-09

Thank you kindly!

author
canida (author)2011-04-26

These look amazing! A brilliant flavor combination. ;)

How did you like the texture? I find that either gelatin alone or a gelatin/agar mix gives a smoother mouth feel. And what did your test subjects think?

author
darktoad (author)canida2011-04-26

Thanks!

The texture for the bean cake is more "mashed" than "smooth", and more varied than you'd expect (since I started with a paste and not a fluid). So you get a little tooth to it as you bite through. The maple/bourbon glaze had a smoother consistency, having started with a more fluid mix. It's not as smooth as a pure gelatin. I haven't mixed Agar with gelatin yet, so maybe that's an experiment for later?

All my test subjects were pleasantly surprised (including me). I found these desserts to be pretty addictive (the holes and extras didn't last long at all). My wife wanted the glaze to be sweeter. You can get that by throwing some simple sugar into the glaze (just make sure you don't change the volume or the mix may not set right)

I think the natural sweetness comes out stronger when you eat them a bit warmer. Straight out of the fridge, the coldness masks / mutes the flavors somewhat.