Cochon555 has been one of my favorite foodie blowouts in Austin. They skipped us last year and the closest one was in Houston. I was very sad 🙁
They are back in Austin with not only the grand pig buffet but also 2 fabulous local celebrity chef dinners that have me drooling already. Which one should I go to?? All three if I can. Yay gluttony!
Click on pics below for tickets and details. Hope to see you there.
Two Charity Dinners
On Friday November 18th, at 9:00PM, Host Chefs Paul Qui of Kuneho, Thai Changtong of Thai Kun, Philip Speer of Bonhomie, and James Dumapit of Old Thousand will host a Cochon555 pop-up dubbed ‘A Late Nite Asian Speakeasy.’ Family-style dishes will be paired with Silver Oak wines and prepared by guest chefs celebrating the flavor-forward, spice-driven Asian fare so many industry, chefs, and line cooks indulge in after their restaurants close.
On Saturday, November 19th at 7:00 p.m., Chef Ben Runkle of Salt & Time will host a luxury guest chef dinner we call ‘Chef’s Course.’ Guests will enjoy a refined three-hour culinary experience and a savory climax of Bone-In Tomahawk Steaks, all paired with magnums of Faust Cabernet Sauvignon. Immediately following the meal, guests are invited to attend a concert featuring legendary rapper Kool Keith performing with special guest Mac Mall and friends, upstairs at The Swedish American Hall. Each dinner features a portfolio tasting of sophisticated scotches from Glenfiddich before and during dessert. A portion of each ticket benefits our charity of choice, Piggy Bank. Discover who the guest chefs are by clicking the links below.
Summary: Winner of the 2011 Bacon Takedown Best Sweet at SXSW in Austin, TX. These candies start with a layer of graham cracker caramel, topped with bacon marshmallows, dipped in dark chocolate, and finished with a sprinkling of bacon powder.
**** Hint **** Cook the bacon for the marshmallow layer BEFORE you start the caramel layer.
You can use 2 smaller pans but it is hard to pour liquid caramel evenly in 2 separate pans. One layer may be thicker than the other. Also if you use foil instead of parchment paper, you must grease it with butter or cooking spray. this causes the caramel to pool in spots and hard to spread evenly. Spring for the parchment paper. It will change how you cook and clean!
I found that using all dark corn syrup was a little too molasses like in taste. You could easily use all dark if you prefer or all light corn syrup for a lighter caramel.
Summary: The caramel layer can cool slightly while you prepare the marshmallow layer. If the caramel is too hot, it will melt the marshmallow but if it is too cool, they will not stick together. It should be warm to the touch but firm and not runny.
I find the easiest and cleanest way to cook bacon is in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet tray. About 1 pound should fit per pan. In order to get the bacon crispy enough to contrast with the fluffy marshmallow, cook it about 275 degrees for approximately 1-1 1/2 hours. After 45 minutes, check it every 15 minutes until it is done. ***Remember to cook the bacon BEFORE you start the caramel***
Summary: Here is were the molecular gastronomy part comes in. This is my take on Grant Achatz recipe in the Alinea cookbook. The point of his powder is to be a total powder in contrast to actual bacon. I found I liked the contrast of the ground up bacon mixed with the powder for this application.
I found the tapioca maltodextrin in a 1 pound tub on Amazon.com. This is more than enough to share with your adventurous chef friends. I want to try a foie powder next! Word of warning, this stuff is very light and fluffy like powdered sugar and it gets everywhere. Salt is also very important to bring out the right flavor. Too little and it tastes like powdered fat. Achatz’ recipe calls for pepper as well but that did not work so well for this.
I used a small cookie cutter to make my candies into heart shapes. My caramel was initially too hard to cut into shapes, so I used a heating pad on medium set underneath the pan to warm the caramel but not melt the marshmallow. Melt at least 2 pounds of chocolate in a double boiler to dip candies in. I used 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Ideally, you should use a couverture chocolate and properly temper it to acheive a sheen and snap to the chocolate. If the weather is not too warm out you can get away with good quality melted chocolate chips like the Ghirardelli which will not temper but hold their shape fairly well. The better your chocolate, the better your results. I would not use generic chocolate chips, even the Nestles do not melt well. They have additives to keep their shape when you bake them. Please do not ever use dipping chocolate. That stuff is just gross.
I used a fondue fork and a long wooden skewer to dip the candies. First use the fondue fork to pierce the side of the candy. It should be secure enough to stay on while dipping but keep in mind you need to get it off the fork once dipped. The wooden skewer helps with removal from the fork. Dip far enough up the sides so just the top of the marshmallow is exposed. Let the chocolate set up for several hours or overnight.
The funnest part of all! You must have a blowtorch to properly brulee the tops. The oven broiler will get the chocolate too melty. The blowtorch will soften the chocolate along the sides but after a few minutes, they should be stable enough to handle. You can use one of those cute little creme brulee torches but a full size torch is about the same price and WAY more efficient. Get one with a trigger and it is super simple to start and control your flame. You want the kind that comes wth a blue container for the gas. The yellow container is not for human consumption.
Sprinkle the bacon powder over the top and serve! Yes, I know these are way more complicated than marshmallow on a stick but I truly enjoyed the whole process and I hope you do too!
That is Matt Timms with the camera. We are taking pics from the stage at Emo’s of the crowd at the Takedown.
Last year I made Bacon Pecan Toffee. This year, the TECHmunch conference has been extended for 3 full days, so I am not sure if I will have the time/energy to participate but I am experimenting with a new porky dessert. I made bacon sticky buns last weekend but they were not up to the high standards of last years competition. I will update with more information as I get it.
Had a very long and intense weekend with the bloggers workshop on Saturday and Bacon Takedown on Sunday. Although I did not win the Takedown, I had a great time, especially with the Bacon Bloody Mary’s (thank you Lucky 13 Mixology!! ).
As promised, here is the recipe for my Bacon Pecan Toffee with Candied Bacon. Candy can be very temperamental and I prefer especially with these recipes to use a scale for more accurate results. An accurate candy thermometer is not necessary but highly recommended.
2 lb Fresh Salted Butter
2.4 lb Granulated Cane Sugar
0.4 lb Baker’s Special sugar **see note for substitution**
4 oz chopped candied bacon*** see recipe below***
12 oz cooked and crumbled bacon****see note below****
1 lb Whole pecans, lightly toasted
0.8 oz Salt
0.3 oz Lecithin*see note below*
6.4 oz Warm water
12 oz Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips (can use milk, dark, whatever you like but these are my go to chocolate chips)
12 oz butterscotch chips
Place butter in a heavy pan. Bring to boiling point and add the warm water. Again bring to the boiling point and stir in the granulated cane sugar. Wash down sides with water and a pastry brush. Bring to a good stiff boil and add the lecithin. (*The lecithin is optional but helps ensure butter and sugar do not separate during cooking process.* ) Cook to 250°F. Add the roasted pecans. Cook to 280° -290°F and then lower the temperature on the stove. Cook to 300°-306°F. Take the pan off the stove and add the salt, crumbled bacon (not the candied bacon, that goes on top) and Baker’s special sugar(** I used equal weight of regular sugar and pulsed it in the spice grinder 7-8 times. The purpose is to seed the sugar in the candy to produce a fine grain to your toffee, so you want the consistency to be somewhere between granulated and powdered sugar.**) Mix well and pour onto a buttered cooling slab or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper that has brushed with butter or if you are feeling really naughty, use the bacon fat left from cooking off bacon. Quickly spread batch. Top warm toffee with a sprinkling of both chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. When chocolate is melted, use a skewer to draw a marbled pattern with the butterscotch. Top with crumbled candied bacon. Store in refrigerator for at least a couple of days but preferably for a week for toffee to achieve maximum grain and butter flavor. The easiest way to break up the toffee is to turn it toffee (as opposed to chocolate) side up, cover with a lint free cloth, and hit with a hammer. Store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
*** Candied Bacon-
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the strips of bacon flat and not overlapping. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar over the bacon. Place in oven and then turn oven on to 325 degrees F. You want the bacon to cook low and slow to render out as much of the fat as possible. Cook for 15-20 minutes, to your desired doneness.
****I used candied bacon in the toffee for the first batch but found it to be grainy and chewy. I much prefer to use the candied bacon on top and regular bacon inside the toffee. You can cook off large batches on sheet trays similar to the candied bacon method but without the brown sugar and do not cook on the same tray. The candied bacon is much more sensitive to burning.
What is better than fried dough? Fried dough with a maple glaze topped with bacon!
Before the economy collapsed, I was working with a guy that was trying to start a sorbet business out of a trailer. Back when Hey Cupcake was only in 1 Airstream and you could only get Chicken Cones during ACL. So I really understand the logistics and complications of these little gems that have become so prolific, especially on South Congress and Lamar. And gourmet trailer food is just so damn Austin.
Gordough’s is located 1219 S. Lamar between Barton Springs and Oltorf next to a couple of other trailers that also look interesting but I was there for one thing only, the Flying Pig. Gordough’s serves up huge, fresh fried yeast doughnuts with your choice of toppings for $3.25 plus $1 for meat. The Flying Pig has a thin maple glaze and is topped with several slices of bacon. DEE-LISH-US. I think I’ll try the Porkey’s next time- Canadian bacon, cream cheese, and jalapeno jelly.