Award winning? Holy cow…I’m bustin’ buttons, y’all! And to make that red ribbon even sweeter? I adapted my great-great-grandmother’s coffee cake batter to use in it. I’ve never entered a food competition before, so how in the WORLD did I end up in this one? Well, there’s a tale to tell…
A few weeks ago, Donna Gregory (she wants full credit for this, by the way…even though she said she thought “the bacon thing sounds weird, but I’ll try it.”…hence naming her) asked me, “P, what are YOU going to enter into the Blue Ribbon Country Fair?” To which I replied, “WHAT blue ribbon country fair?”
You see, although this fair happens in our very own little town, I knew nothing of it…we work far too much, obviously, because it’s not a little event at all.
Well, that set me to thinkin’….and I figured, why not! Oh, little did I know what I was doing to myself! Anyway, the next day, I pulled up the website of the event to see what the categories were for entry. I came up with a few ideas and decided to make three entries: Coffee cakes, Traditional Tea Cakes and Jams. I had ideas for each.
It hadn’t been very long before that I had seen this recipe for an apple pie; I just thought the basket-weave of bacon was so lovely…I was determined to use it in a different way. I figured if I used a stiff enough batter, I could utilize that weave in a coffee cake and boy, howdy, apple sure did sound good with the bacon!
I really thought the weight of the bacon weave would need a stiff batter; I couldn’t think of a stiffer batter recipe than that used by my great-great-grandmother for her coffee cake…I just needed to change it up a bit.
See how these things evolve? My brain just went into overdrive on this one. As a matter of fact, I had nightmares about this recipe. One night, I had a dream that, no matter how hard I tried, I could NOT weave bacon; I awoke the next morning determined to put that demon to rest by doing it. Well, of course, it wasn’t hard at all…and Mr. Saucy and I ended up eating the most amazing BLT’s from it…but I digress.
Somehow, I just knew this would work! In fact, the very first one I made is the one I submitted. I didn’t even taste it first…I had faith in it. Well, faith and some prayers…*laughing* I sent a huge prayer up to my great-great-grandmother as I altered her batter, asking her to watch over me. Then? Well, that night after I submitted the cake? I remade that coffee cake over about, probably, nearly…no doubt a million times in my sleep! Not ever having had my food judged before was daunting, to say the least.
So, how fitting is it to win a red ribbon with my great-great-grandmother’s help? I’d say that ribbon is more like gold to me, y’all.
I’m so happy! So so happy. I do hope you’ll try this recipe…really.
- FOR THE BACON WEAVE:
- 1 pound thick cut bacon
- 4 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sanding sugar
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut in 8ths.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider syrup
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
- FOR THE CAKE BATTER:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 6 Tbs melted butter
- 1½ cups half and half
- Spray a metal rack, placed over a baking sheet, with Pam.
- Weave the bacon in a basket-weave pattern.
- Brush with maple syrup.
- Bake in 300 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter.
- Add the sliced apples.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the apples.
- Add the two syrups and the apple brandy and allow to caramelize, about 15 minutes on medium high heat.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients.
- Add the melted butter and milk and stir with a wooden spoon. *
- Press the ⅔ of the dough into a greased 9" springform pan.
- Arrange the caramelized apples on the top of the dough.
- Place the remaining dough on top of the apples.
- Lay the bacon weave on top of the cake, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool.
- Remove from pan and place on serving platter.
Okay…so here’s a diagram on how to weave bacon…save yourself a nightmare or two…and it’s simple. Really.