Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bringing Home the Bacon: Bacon and Maple Syrup Muffins With Earl Grey Chantilly Cream

Bacon! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Salty, crisp and moreish, you have corrupted countless vegetarians with your enticing aroma and continue to enchant me with your versatile porky charms.

I’m not sure anything exists that can’t be improved by the addition of bacon. It is the perfect partner to… well, everything really. From a softly yielding egg yolk, to a pasta sauce, as part of a salad or inside a chocolate bar, bacon is intensely savoury, but equally tempting when paired with sweet. It is as at home slapped, humbly, between two slices of bread, as it is inside Heston Blumenthal’s legendary bacon and egg ice cream. Bacon knows no culinary bounds - just make sure you look for the Red Tractor mark to identify the quality and provenance of the meat.

As it’s Bacon Connoisseurs Week, now seems the perfect time to add some extra bacon to your day. Already a classic for our transatlantic friends, maple syrup and bacon is fast becoming a favourite in the UK too. I thought it would be fun to fuse North American maple and bacon with our very British Earl Grey tea, to create an extra special breakfast treat that includes your morning cuppa as well as enough bacon to keep you going till lunch. Just make sure you make enough to revive you from the mid afternoon slump too.

Bacon and Maple Syrup Muffins Topped with Earl Grey Chantilly Cream and Candied Bacon Bits

For the candied bacon

12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. soft light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (325°F fan)/Gas Mark 4

Coat both sides of the bacon in the syrup and sugar and sprinkle over a little salt. Place on a baking tray and pop them in the oven for about half an hour or until the bacon is crisp and caramelised. Pop the tray on a wire rack until cool enough to handle and snip all the bacon into little pieces with kitchen scissors. Leave to cool completely.

For the muffins

Makes 6 muffins

Half of the cooled candied bacon.
125g Plain flour or Rice flour (gf)
1 heaped tsp. of baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
65ml buttermilk
65ml maple syrup, plus extra to drizzle
65g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (325°F fan)/Gas Mark 4 and line your muffin tray with paper cases.

Place the egg, buttermilk, 65ml of syrup and butter in a jug and whisk together with a balloon whisk. Sift over the flour and baking powder and add the salt before mixing the wet and dry ingredients lightly together. Fold in the candied bacon bits and pour the batter into the muffin cases (3/4 full) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Prick their tops with a cake tester or cocktail stick before drizzling over a little extra maple syrup. Leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack.

For the Earl Grey Chantilly cream

250ml double/whipping cream
1 vanilla pod
1 Earl Grey teabag, infused in 50ml of boiling water for 5 minutes and left to cool.

Whip the cream, add the scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod and the cold Earl grey tea and whisk again. Place in a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe a little swirl on top of each cold muffin before sprinkling over the rest of candied bacon bits.

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