If someone had the singular genius to publish a cookbook entitled Bacon Desserts, I’d be all over it. I’ve yet to have a bacon dessert that I didn’t love. Bacon can go sweet/salty, chewy/crispy, smoky/simply savory, and star or supporting player.
This baklava recipe plays with bacon’s infinite variety. It is mixed into a filling of almonds and dates — the almonds bring out its crisp savoriness while the dates bring out its sweet chewiness. The syrup poured over the baklava is made of maple syrup, orange peel, and bourbon. All contribute generally to the depth of flavor and the requisite stickiness, but the maple syrup and orange peel also remind me how much I like to eat the bacon that falls into pools of maple syrup on my breakfast plates, and the bourbon goes so well with smokiness.
I looked at other baklava recipes before making this recipe, and I’m happy that this recipe uses dates instead of brown sugar and maple syrup instead of honey.
Bacon is such an iconic part of breakfast that it’s easy to rhyme it with dessert foods that resemble breakfast food… to the point that it seems like bacon can go with anything. Scrambled eggs translates to egg-based desserts that would be good with bacon, such as custards (ice cream, bread pudding, creme brulee, creme anglaise). Orange juice and apple juice translate to fruit desserts, such as tarts and pies. Toast translates to breads, such as stollen and croissants. Chocolate chip pancakes translate to cake and chocolate. Mmmmm… bacon and chocolate. I also have it on good authority that bacon can go well with raisins. And if only I’d had the courage to sprinkle bacon on my Nutter Butter Banana Cake back in the day, especially since it was based on the Elvis sandwich.
This recipe also reminds me of those broiled bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds and either parmesan or blue cheese. I know I’ve stepped over some line to want to try bacon baklava with the addition of parmesan or blue cheese…. but I can’t help it. And I don’t mind how much that dish would seriously blur the line between sweet and savory.
Of course, bacon has two main challenges in desserts: its grease and the fact that it’s meat… but I’m willing to work to overcome them.
In terms of this recipe as written, I will make it a little differently next time. It says to bake it at 400F for 10 minutes before finishing it at 325 for 1 hr. The phyllo browned very quickly at 400F and then didn’t take the full time to finishing cooling; and it was hard to tell doneness because it was so dark on top. Next time, I’ll try keeping it at 325 the whole time.
Also, this recipe calls for 1.5# bacon for a 13×9 pan. That’s a lot of bacon. It can probably be decreased by at least a 1/3, and supplemented with more nuts and dates. I love bacon and all, but a little can go a long way, too.