I have a friend who doesn’t eat pork, well except bacon. In fact if I recall when my sister was temporarily vegetarian she ate bacon one time either because she “forgot” or because somehow bacon was an exception to the no meat rule. What is it about bacon that puts it in its own category?
I don’t have the answer. Let’s think on that one for next time.
By the way, no I’m not having apple juice with my bacon. That’s BACON FAT!
Bacon has become a big deal lately, showing up in all sorts of places and starring in its own festivals. In fact my sister and her husband attended Bacon Fest in Dayton, Ohio this last weekend and waited in line with hoards of other people for unusual treats like chocolate-covered bacon, bacon and watermelon skewers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and bacon cheesecake. As she told me about said festival, I couldn’t resist the urge to whip up a bacon cheesecake of my own. However, I have to say the bacon cheesecake my sister ate sounded pretty weak as far as bacon things go. There was no actual bacon in the cheesecake, according to her description, just bacon and chocolate draped on top. I mean to me if you’re going to call it bacon cheesecake, you better be putting bacon in that thing. So that’s what I did.
This is what happens when I have a week off.
So here’s the recipe that I made up, loosely based on my favorite cheesecake recipe. The best part is using the bacon fat to add extra bacon oomph. I’m sure they would be delicious with melted chocolate on top or mini chocolate chips sprinkled (or melted and swirled) throughout. In fact I meant to put some maple syrup in them and then totally didn’t so I drizzled some on top to make up for it. Anyway, go to town. Bacon town.
Mini Bacon Cheesecakes
Makes 1 dozen
½ cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 3 full crackers)
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 T. bacon drippings
1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
2 T. sour cream or full fat plain yogurt, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 T. bacon drippings, cooled
1 egg, room temperature
¼ tsp. lemon zest (optional)
½ cup cooked bacon, crumbled into bite-sized pieces (from about 4 oz. raw bacon)
2 tsp. all purpose flour
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat, draining and reserving the fat for later. Let cool on a paper-towel lined plate.
For the crust, crush the graham crackers or pulse in a food processor. Stir in brown sugar and bacon drippings, adding more if needed to reach the proper consistency. Line a regular muffin tins with muffin cups and spray lightly with oil. Divide crust between muffin liners, a little less than 1 tablespoon each, and press down gently with fingers. Put tin in the freezer or fridge while you prep the filling.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
For the filling beat the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add egg and bacon fat and mix in, scraping the bowl when necessary. Stir in the lemon zest. In a separate small bowl toss the crumbled bacon with the flour to lightly coat and then stir the bacon into the cream cheese mixture.
Remove the muffin tin and divide the cream cheese mixture between the cups, using less than ¼ cup per mini cheesecake. The tins will only be about 2/3 full. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly jiggly and lightly golden. Remove and cool fully before refrigerating. Serve cold to your vegetarian or Jewish friends, drizzled with maple syrup (the cheesecake, not your friends).
Just tell them to bacon exception 🙂