Father’s day is just around the corner and for the occasion, I felt like I wanted to create some special dessert designed specifically with “him” in mind.
No, no… I didn’t finally get me a”him”, you guys… I just meant “him” as in “men” in general, you know.
I wanted to create something masculine.
Something rich, something robust, something BOLD!
Something a touch adventurous too, why not?
But most of all, I wanted to create something MANLY!
This was gonna be a GRAND, a SPECTACULAR recipe.
Unfortunately, I failed miserably.
Oh, not at the recipe itself, no. I failed at capturing it in a way that would really do it justice; that would convey the idea behind it as well as the grandiosity of the deliciousness that lurks beneath those innocent looking little cups.
I must’ve taken over 200 shots, for real. I even tried different colors, different set-ups. I had this particular vision in mind, you see. I wanted to sort of portray this one as if seen through the eyes of a man.
Blue is a manly color, is it not?
Hmpft. Doesn’t look like it worked all that well. Maybe that explains why I don’t have a man in my life…
Still, even though I didn’t succeed at getting my pictures just right, at least the subject of the failed photo session turned out to be everything I’d been hoping for, and more.
For this, is a very manly dessert.
Totally rich; totally bold; totally, decadently delicious.
This was my first time experiencing the bacon/chocolate combo and I wanted it to be something special. This was not something that I was ready to cheap out on, such as by dipping a slice of crispy bacon into a pot of melted chocolate and indulge right then and there, standing next to the kitchen counter.
No, I had to go all out. I had to create a masterpiece for my first experience. Make it count, you know. Make it extraordinary. Almost fairy tale-like
Need I tell you that my first experience did not disappoint? Oh my, it so did not!
Be warned though: this one is for DARK, and I do mean DARK chocolate lovers.
I elected to use cacao paste to make this and only added 2 measly little tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten the creamy chocolate concoction. That, coupled with the addition of ancho chile powder, makes the “crème au chocolat” taste almost bitter when eaten on its own. But when you eat it in communion with the beautiful salted caramel that sits at the bottom of the cup, it simply balances everything out and little rainbows start shooting out of your eyes.
You don’t HAVE to use cacao liquor, however. You could very well substitute good quality dark chocolate if you wanted to, although I recommend going no lower than 70% cacao. If you’re gonna do that, leave the maple syrup out, though, otherwise it’ll probably end up being way too sweet.
Now, the caramel might look like it’s really complicated to make, but really, it’s not so bad. If you have a candy thermometer, use it. If not, just boil the syrup for about 10 minutes and start dropping a little bit of syrup in a glass containing icy cold water. When the syrup forms some kind of a soft ball that can be squeezed flat between your fingers, it’s ready to go.
Oh, and if you don’t have vanilla beans, don’t sweat it. They do add a lot of flavor, not to mention a bunch of super sexy black little specks, but you could very well use vanilla extract, too. Or just plain leave it out if you don’t care for it.
Last but not least, the bacon…
I have to admit that a lot has to be said for the combination of flavors and textures here. Bacon and chocolate do work surprisingly well together. But if it’s a tad too weird for your taste, you can very well just leave it out. Hey, you’re not gonna hurt my feelings! 😉
I would definitely NOT ditch the salt, though.
Speaking of which… if you don’t have Fleur-de-Sel, coarse sea salt would work just as well, or even kosher salt. Just don’t go using regular, iodized table salt. I don’t think it would do this decadent treat justice.
One last thing. If you do do the bacon and have a little bit of time ahead of you, I would definitely wait until the last minute to cook the strips that would get used to garnish the top. That way, it would remain super crispy and even a tad warm. Oh my. That’s got to be TO-DIE-FOR. Otherwise, just do like I did and cook it ahead of time. It still works, trust me, although the bacon does become a tad chewier once cooled.
Oh, sorry. Just one more thing. For real this time. DO let these babies get back to room temperature before you serve them. This means take them out of the fridge AT LEAST an hour prior to serving them, preferably 2 to 3. Your mouth will thank you for it…
You know the stuff that’s inside a Canadian Zero Candy Bar? Or maybe you’re more familiar with Icy Squares, or Ice Cubes?
It’s THAT creamy and silky smooth and delicious!
Only it tastes like a thousand times better…
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp cacao butter
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- ½ tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ tsp fleur de sel
- 200g cacao paste, finely chopped*
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan or fine sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- few grinds freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 slices pastured, sugar free bacon
- Fleur de Sel
- Cut the bacon slices crosswise into ¼” wide pieces.
- Cook over medium heat until really nice and crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess fat.
- In a heavy saucepan (choose one that is large enough to accommodate at least 4 cups of liquid) bring maple syrup to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10-12 minutes, until it registers 235F on a candy thermometer. It will become a nice dark caramel color and start to get thicker. The syrup should form a soft ball when dropped in cold water.
- Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, mix all the ingredients of part I and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cacao butter is melted and mixture just barely starts to simmer.
- When syrup is ready, slowly pour in the coconut milk mixture while constantly stirring with a long handled wooden spoon. Be very careful here as this mixture will bubble heavily and might boil over if you go at it too quickly.
- Once all the milk has been added and completely incorporated, give the caramel another quick boil and cook for an extra minute while stirring constantly, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool while you work on the crème au chocolat
- Chop the cacao paste finely and place it in a large heat proof mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan or heat proof bowl, (or other container that will work as a double boiler) add coconut milk, honey, egg yolks, ancho chile powder, nutmeg, vanilla seeds and pod, as well as salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Heat over a double boiler, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and forms a smooth custard that coats the back of a spoon (about 10 to 15 minutes).
- Remember, this mixture can never be allowed to simmer or boil, else the yolks will cook and curdle. It just needs to heat up until the temperature reaches about 175°F (80°C).
- When the custard is ready, take it off the heat, place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the chocolate, and pour the custard right through to catch the vanilla pods and any lumpy bits. Help the custard down with a rubber spatula and don’t forget to scrape the underside!
- Now, place that bowl over the double boiler (or transfer it back to your other bowl if this one won’t fit), kill the heat (the heat from the hot water will be sufficient) and stir very delicately with a whisk to get the chocolate to melt and bind with the custard to form a super smooth and silky chocolate-y mixture.
- Now that the caramel has cooled, stir in Fleur de Sel and divide between 8 small ramekins or espresso cups. Top with a few pieces of crispy bacon.
- Delicately top with the crème au chocolat and decorate with a few pieces of bacon.
- Cover the cups with plastic wrap and let them chill and firm up in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- This dessert is best if taken out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving and sprinkled with a little bit more Fleur de Sel.
The Crème au Chocolat recipe was slightly adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
Chop the cacao paste (also known as cacao liquor) very finely
Place a fine meshed sieve over the cacao paste and pour the custard right through.
See all those beautiful vanilla bean specks?
Divide the caramel between 8 ramekins or espresso cups.
Try not to eat it all at this point…
Top with a few pieces of crispy bacon
Now add the Crème au Chocolat
Check out the vanilla bean specks in that caramel.
Top with a few more pieces of bacon and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel.
Does that look good or what?
But wait… it looks good in blue too, doesn’t it?
Or maybe not.
One thing’s for sure, it does look (and taste!) better with the Fleur de Sel, so don’t go do like I did and forget to add it!