Tasty Tuesday...Bacon Apple Pie
Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie
Makes 2 mini pies
8 slices bacon (applewood smoked, center cut, thick sliced), divided use
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
2-3 small granny smith apples (2 cups yield)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided use
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons flour (plus more for rolling dough)
To make the lattice tops, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of bacon in half crosswise, then again lengthwise (to create long strips). Each lattice will use 8 strips - 4 horizontal and 4 vertical. Weave them together to create a basket-weave pattern. Place lattices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, top with another piece of foil, and finally another baking sheet to weigh down the bacon. Bake for about 17 minutes, until bacon is brown and slightly crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve.
With remaining 4 slices of bacon, chop in a small dice and fry in a large pan. Cook until bacon is very crispy, then drain on paper towels and let cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.
Once the bacon bits are cool, place 2 tablespoons in a grinder (I use a coffee grinder designated for spices) and run until the bacon is ground to a fine dust. Reserve remaining bacon.
For the pie shells, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Sprinkle flour on counter and roll out pie dough slightly to about 12 inches across. Cut out circles larger than the tart pans. Sprinkle bacon dust over each crust and press in lightly with rolling pin. Fit dough into tart pans, tucking excess dough underneath to create a thicker edge. Press buttered foil into shells and fill with beans or weights. Blind bake shells for 20 minutes. Reserve.
When ready to fill pies, peel and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter very thinly (about 8 slices each), then cut in half crosswise. In the same pan you cooked the bacon, heat the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Add apples and remaining bacon bits. Sauté until softening, then add sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Cook for another minute until mixture becomes like caramel. Remove from heat and stir in flour.
Brush the pie shells with 1/2 tablespoon of syrup each, coating sides and bottom. Fill the shells with the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. While the pies are baking, coat both sides of each bacon lattice with remaining maple syrup. After 12 minutes, place a lattice over each pie and return to oven. Bake for about 13 more minutes, until bacon is slightly crisp.
Cool slightly before cutting.