I would like my first recipe to feature something I really love and for the one I love. After all, it’s February, the love month and baking is essentially an expression of love. I say you can love without baking but you cannot bake without loving. CHEEEEEEESSSSSSSY!!! =p
I love peanut butter and I love chocolate. On the other hand, my husband loves bacon and he’s really excited about this recipe. He loves the idea of integrating meats into desserts. I remember how amazed he was with Frosted Dessert’s Banana Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Candied Bacon. Unfortunately, the store seemed to have closed last time we passed by Maginhawa, the famous foodie lane near the University of the Philippines – Diliman. This cupcake, however, is not the inspiration for this particular recipe. I have encountered this genius of a pie while watching the first episode of the first season of The American Baking Competition, a spin-off of The Great British Bake-Off on Youtube. The two shows feature amateur bakers so it’s really inspiring and challenging for someone like me. Bakers have three chances to impress the judges every episode: The Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Showstopper. I learned a lot from these shows and enjoyed the historical inputs as well.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon Pie is the Signature Bake of Francine Bryson, a home baker from South Carolina, during the Pies and Tarts episode. The idea ‘disturbed’ one of the judges but after tasting, he ‘adored’ it! As for me, I couldn’t wait to make it and for my husband to try it out. Finally, I’ll be able to and I am very excited to share with you how it turns out. I am actually writing this introduction before I make the recipe. I am not sure if I’ll succeed but I will surely share with you whatever will transpire in the following paragraphs. I plan to make two batches, one that will stick as closely as possible to the original recipe and one that I will tweak to make it more affordable. I will subject these two batches to a taste test and give you the feedback.
AFTER THE BAKE
OMG!!! I salute all one-man-team food bloggers out there. It sure is a challenging task to make a recipe while documenting it like a scientific experiment, and integrating artistic touches for the photographs; ALL ON YOUR OWN. I am definitely a baby blogger and photographer but I would have to say that I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to becoming better. So anyways, here’s how my first recipe panned out.
Batch 1: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon Pie
This is ONE INDULGENT PIE! It has milk, whipping cream, butter, chocolate, cream cheese, peanut butter and bacon for crying out loud!
Originally, this pie uses 25 pcs of Chips-a-hoy cookies for the crust. One such cookie is about 11.33 g so 25 pcs would weigh about 238 g. I used my homemade Chocolate chip walnut cookies since I still have some leftover from a picture-taking session for the Store page of this website, which is still under development. In this light, I also encourage you to use other cookies or biscuits you have on hand so you don’t have to buy.
My homemade cookies are of the chewy type and are studded generously with chocolate chips so I only needed 1 tbsp of butter (melted) instead of 3 tbsps to keep the crushed cookies together. In the same way, don’t be afraid to adjust the amount of the butter according to your actual observations.
For the filling, I pretty much followed the original recipe except for one thing – vanilla butternut flavor. I do not know where I could buy that plus I don’t think I’ll be using it again so I just used the vanilla flavor that I have.
Now, I would just like to clarify on the needed Evaporated Milk in the recipe. There are three different kinds that I am aware of and I listed the first four ingredients of each below (Note: Ingredients in food labels are arranged in descending order of weight):
Evaporated Full Cream Milk – pure cow’s milk (homogenized and sterilized)
From here you could already imagine how the taste and also the price would differ. For this recipe, I decided to use evaporated filled milk over the cheapest option because the tastes significantly differ. Of course, the full cream milk version is the most flavorful and creamiest but I don’t think it’s necessary for this particular recipe. After all, it’s just used to make chocolate sauce and chocolate is flavorful and creamy enough.
Speaking of chocolate sauce, I had some false alarm making it. I initially did not get a smooth mixture after melting the chocolate into the heated milk and sugar solution. I thought it was just because of inefficient melting and it needs to be vigorously beaten. I was about to transfer it to my mixing bowl when I decided to add the needed butter. Voila! The mixture smoothened. I remember chocolate becomes clumpy with water so it probably reacted with the water content of the evaporated filled milk and sugar solution. I did some research and found a scientific explanation in Fooducation.org. They offered a solution as well, which I will surely try soon. They said you must add more water such that it becomes 20% of the mixture. Please do share if you’ve encountered or tried this before.
Lastly for the topping, I failed again =’<. I over-whipped my cream and it turned clumpy as is apparent in the images above. This is despite using Cream of Tartar, supposedly a stabilizer. Although it is highly probably that I used an expired one. Anyhow, I spread my clumpy whipped cream onto my pie and it was not very pretty so I foolishly decided to return most of it to the mixer false hoping for a smooth whipped cream. Of course, it wouldn’t be the case. I ended up with butter and liquid. Yes, butter is produced from over-whipping cream. I know based from experience because this is not the first time this happened to me. So if in any case, you need butter and you don’t have it but you have cream, over-whip it! =p You don’t actually need a mixer to do this. You can place the cream in a jar and shake the butter out of it.
I’ve researched on ways to save this over-whipping mess that I always find myself into and found an easy solution at Pastries like a Pro. It is said there to add a little more cream, about a twelfth of the volume of the cream being whipped and beat again. However, this only works before it turns to butter. This is what I could have done to salvage the clumpy whipped cream. I shall try next time for learning purposes ^_^.
Batch 2: No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Tocino Pie
Did you know that Tocino is the Spanish word for Bacon? Well, I didn’t until now. It would have never occurred to me because they are quite different except for being both pork products. Bacon is thin, smoky and salty while tocino is thick, sweet and garlicky. Moreover, their market prices are also very different and as I have said, this matters a lot to me. Hence, even if my husband loves bacon, we don’t really buy it =p. So in an effort to make the recipe more affordable, I decided to use Tocino instead. This is a well-loved dish in the Philippines and is readily available.
For the crust, I used Oreos because this is what I have. I finely crushed it and added 3 tbsps of margarine. I initially added just 1 tbsp thinking that the cream filling of Oreos will also act as a binder but it did not. I forgot that the filling is mostly powdered sugar and not actually cream.
I used margarine here, again, to cut the cost. It is made from vegetable fat rather than cream. Actually, I was intending to use Compound Butter as the more affordable substitute but it is not always available in stores. Compound Butter is a mixture of butterfat and vegetable oil so I gather it to be closer to the real thing yet not more expensive than margarine.
I did not bake the crust for this batch because I know that an oven is not a staple appliance in an average Filipino home. Although nowadays, there are small convection ovens which only cost as low as Php3,000.00. Check out a product review at The Bright Spot. Moving on, I just ‘stir-fried’ my crushed Oreos and margarine for about three to four minutes and pressed it onto the pan. I imagined that this would be okay since the pie will eventually be chilled with the creamy filling and its margarine component will solidify and keep the crust together. After tasting, I’d say it is definitely okay to do this. Yes, the crust is not as ‘formed’ as the baked version in the first batch but it is totally acceptable. The lack of oven should not keep you from making this recipe.
Also, if you do not have an electric mixer, you can make the filling by hand. It is said that a minute’s worth of electric mixing equates to about 150 strokes of manual mixing. Apparently, some work out is needed but it is doable. I used to make batches and batches of cookies just by hand.
The filling is basically the same for this batch but I substituted real chocolate chips with compound chocolate chips. The latter is cheaper because it contains vegetable fat rather than the expensive cocoa butter. As a consequence, I ended up with a runny chocolate sauce so I had to add 3 more cups of the compound semi-sweet chocolate chips to thicken it further. It did but still not as much as the real thing. I should have decreased the amount of evaporated milk in the first place. I remember the opposite happened to me when I was trying to make a chocolate ganache using cocoa butter instead of butter. I ended up with too thick a mixture. So now I know that cocoa butter makes that kind of difference.
Another substitution I did is all-purpose cream for whipping cream. Again, the consideration here is the price. Whipping cream is almost twice more expensive and mostly packaged by liter. Lastly, I did not use vanilla flavor or whipped cream topping for this batch. Instead, I set aside a cup of the Peanut Butter Filling and used it as topping. This made this batch not only more affordable but also a littler healthier ^_^
My husband loved both batches but honestly, he is not the best taste tester you could have. To him, it’s either good or not. After knowing which is which, he became biased towards the pricier version, haha! I am not sure if that counts so I would have to give most of the feedback here and I will try to be as objective and real as possible.
Overall, this is one rich, uber sweet and intensely creamy pie. I won’t personally make it again because the guilt is just so overwhelming for me, especially now that I am trying to lose weight. This is the type of dessert that I can only consume small amounts of, like a reward. Yes, I am a reward eater =p. I dare say it’s very American in taste and composition. I have observed that American recipes tend to be too sweet and indulgent for the Filipino palate so I would probably cut back on the added sugars if I make this again. As it is though, IT’S REALLY DELICIOUS! My sister loved it too although she finds the meat addition weird. She suggests that it would be better to remove the meat. For context, she’s not a very adventurous eater and favors the classic flavors as far as I have observed.
For comparison of the two batches, the most significant difference between the two, aside from the meat used, would have to be the Chocolate Filling. The sauce made from the compound chocolate was not as pleasantly smooth as the real thing. I would recommend to those of you who would want to try this recipe to use real semi-sweet chocolate chips like Hershey’s. On the other hand, you can stick with using all-purpose cream for the Peanut Butter Filling and skip the vanilla flavor like I did for the second batch and save from there.
For the meat, using tocino is very much fine but it has to be salted a little bit more to provide a more striking contrast. The same goes for the bacon. Also, if you have the budget, choose leaner bacon. The 450 g I started with turned out to be just 116 g after cooking and burning the fat. Hence, the bacon flavor and chew is lacking in the finished product of the first batch.
Whew! That’s it! I didn’t expect this first blog post to be long but thank you for sticking with me. I hope you’ve learned as much as I did. Please leave a message and tag me in your photos if you ever try this out yourself.
SUMMARY OF LEARNING
Ingredients in food labels are arranged in descending order of weight
Curdled chocolate can be overcome by changing the ratio of water to fat
Cream of Tartar stabilizes the whipping process
Over-whipping cream results to butter and buttermilk product
Save a clumpy whipped cream by adding a little more cream, about a twelfth of the volume of the cream being whipped and beat again
2 Kinds of Butter Substitute
Margarine – made from vegetable fat
Compound Butter – made by combining butter fat with vegetable fat
1 minute of electric mixing is equal to about 150 strokes of manual mixing
Compound Chocolate – a cheaper chocolate substitute that uses vegetable fat rather than cocoa butter
Compound chocolate results to a thinner sauce because of the lack of cocoa butter
PRICES & WHERE TO BUY INGREDIENTS (Philippines)? Find out here.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon PIe
This pie should come with a warning. It is not for the faint hearted, literally. It is as indulgent as a pie can be. It has chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, heavy cream, butter and cream cheese for crying out loud!
238 g Homemade Cookies (or any type you have like Oreos or Chips-a-hoy)
2 to 3 tbsps (28 to 42 g) Unsalted Butter (melted) - adjust according to the moistness of the cookies used
For the Bacon Filling
450 g (16 oz) Bacon
For the Chocolate Filling
1 cup (250 ml) Evaporated Filled Milk
3/4 cup (150 g) White or Refined Sugar
2 cups (340 g) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 tbsps (28 g) Unsalted Butter
For the Peanut Butter Filling
1 cup (8 oz) Cream Cheese
1 cup (200 g) White or Refined Sugar
1 cup (250 ml) Whipping Cream
1 cup (250 g) Peanut Butter
1 1/2 (23 ml) tbsps Vanilla Flavor
For the Topping
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Whipping Cream
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 cup (125 g) Powdered Sugar
1 9x1.5" Pie Pan (although I used an 8x2" round cake pan)
15 to 20 mins to preheat oven at 350oF or 180oC (use an external thermometer)
1 hr to soften cream cheese
1 hr to soften peanut butter (if stored in the refrigerator)
20 mins to cool baked pie crust
2 to 4 hrs to pie chilling time
For the Crust
Grind chosen cookies in a food processor or manually, using mortar and pestle until fine
Add in melted butter and mix until well-blended and comes together. The amount of melted butter needed will vary depending on the moistness of cookies used. Crunchy cookies like Oreos or Chips-a-hoy will need about 3 tbsps
Press uniformly onto the bottom and lower sides of a 9-inch pie pan
Bake for 10 minutes in the middle rack
Cool while making the filling
For the Bacon Filling
Chop 450 g bacon into ¾ inch squares and cook in the microwave for 5 mins
Pour out the water and cook again for another 5 mins
Pour out the oil and cook again for about a min or until crispy
Set aside about ¼ cup for garnishing
For the Chocolate Filling
Cook 1 cup (250 ml) of Evaporated Milk, ¾ cup (150 g) White Sugar over low heat until all sugar is dissolved and the sides bubble
Remove from heat and mix in 2 cups (340 g) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 2 tbsps (28 g) Unsalted Butter until smooth and thick. Return to heat if necessary
Spread half of the filling onto the pie crust and set aside
For the Peanut Butter Filling
Beat 1 cup (8 oz) softened Cream Cheese and 1 cup white sugar with paddle attachment at medium speed for about 30 sec or until smooth
Mix in 1 cup (250 ml) Whipping Cream at medium high speed for about 2 mins or until you see an increase in volume
Mix in 1 cup (250 g) softened Peanut Butter and 1 ½ tbsps (23 ml) Vanilla Flavor at medium speed for about 30 secs until uniformly blended
Uniformly scatter half of the bacon (minus the ¼ cup) over the chocolate-covered crust
Pour over the peanut butter filling
Uniformly sprinkle the other half of the bacon
Pour over the rest of the chocolate filling
Chill for about 2 to 5 hrs or until top resists when pressed
For the Topping
Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment to be used for whipping of the cream for at least 20 mins
Beat 1 ½ cups (375 ml) Whipping Cream with 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar using whisk attachment at medium high speed for about a min or until soft peaks form
Add in 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar and continue to whip for about a min or until stiff peaks form
Slather on top of chilled pie and design accordingly
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