July 1, 2010
by Gareth Mark
Let's be clear about one thing right from the start: store-bought bacon is not going to be satisfactory. You have to make your own. And don't waste time with any apples called "Delicious" because they aren't. Use Pink Lady, Fuji, Gravenstein, Braeburn, Jazz, or some other varietal with real flavor and texture, and be sure they're organic. Better yet, wait until the apples on your tree are ready before you make this.
First you'll need to candy some bacon. If you want a vegan version of this, leave out the candied bacon and call it Apple Granita. It will be delightful. Now to candy bacon you need bacon, an oven, a sheet pan, and some sweetener, perhaps brown sugar or maple syrup (the real stuff, not anything "flavored"). Cover the sheet pan lightly with sweetener, lay down strips of bacon, cover them lightly with sweetener, and put into a 250°F oven. Leave it there until you just can't stand it any more (about an hour if the bacon is thick, less time for smaller or thinner bacon). Carefully remove the hot, sticky bacon from the hot, sticky pan and put it (the bacon) on a plate to cool.
Next, make some apple syrup. Simple, really. Two-thirds of a cup of sugar plus one-half cup of apple juice or cider, heat to a simmer, let reduce a bit to thicken, then cool and refrigerate.
Third, juice a lemon into a blender or food processor to keep the apples you're about to peel and core from going brown. If you have ascorbic acid you can use it. If you have Vitamin C tablets do NOT use them instead.
Fourth, peel and core four really good organic apples just as quickly as you can. Put them into the blender or food processor that holds the lemon juice and purée until you're satisfied with the texture. At some point you'll want to add more liquid, so add the apple syrup. If you want some cinnamon in it, add that to the purée as well.
If the purée is reasonably thick, add the candied bacon. If not, start freezing the purée first, then add the bacon later.
You can process this in an ice cream machine and call it sorbet if you wish. Or you can freeze it in a shallow pan and call it granita. If you choose the granita option, you'll need to pull the pan out of the freezer every 15-30 minutes and break up the ice crystals by scraping it with a fork.
How does it taste? Sort of like frozen applesauce with bacon in it. In a really good way. I also enjoyed it hot as a sweet and savory sauce with pork loin.