The first recipe I attempted when I began the Gourmet 10/76 Project was a recipe from the You Asked For It section, where readers could write in and request specific recipes (presumably because Google didn’t exist yet). A reader from Dayton, OH wrote in to ask for a German bacon pie recipe, and the following is what the editors provided her.
I suppose that it is possible that what I have in my head as the definition of “pie” is different from what was intended with this recipe. The result is a very thick, challah-esque bread topped with a layer of bacon and onion pâté, which is then covered with more bread. It is incredibly rich and I’d recommend a bitter green salad to balance all that bacon, and maybe slather on some nice mustard to add a little acid. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pour yourself a nice dark German beer. You’ve earned it.
Bacon Pie Recipe
- 4½ tsp active dry yeast two packets
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour separated
- 4 eggs yolks and whites separated
- 1 egg not separated
- 8 slices bacon about ¾ pound
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp parsley minced
- ¼ parmesan cheese grated
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dough
- Proof 4½ tsp of active dry yeast and ½ tsp sugar in ½ cup of lukewarm water for ten minutes. It will get very bubbly.
- Add milk to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until it is almost boiling and there are small bubbles forming around the edges. Transfer the scalded milk to a large bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted. Let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
- Stir the yeast mixture into the milk and butter, add two teaspoons of kosher salt, then stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth to form the sponge. Cover and leave the sponge stand in a warm area for 30 minutes, or until it develops bubbles.
- Stir three egg yolks and one whole egg into the sponge, then mix in two additional cups of flour until the mixture forms a soft dough. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. For the dough into a ball, and place in a clean bowl that has been buttered, cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (1½-2 hours). One way to test whether the dough is ready is to push a fingertip gently into the surface. If the dough doesn't bounce back it is ready!
For the pie
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Add the bacon and onion to a food processor and pulse until it forms a rough paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and add the bread crumbs and minced parsley. Stir to combine.
- Punch down the dough, then roll out ⅔ of the dough into a rectangle that is roughly the same size as a quarter sheet pan. Press the dough into a buttered quarter sheet pan, pressing it into the edges with your fingertips
- Spread the bacon mixture over the dough, leaving a half inch border free around the edges.
- Roll out the remaining ⅓ of the dough into a rectangle the same size as your pan. Brush the exposed edge of the bottom dough with lightly beaten egg whites, then press the second piece of dough on top, pressing down to form a seal.
- Brush one egg yolk over the top dough then cover the entire surface with grated parmesan.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top of the pie is golden brown. Serve the pie warm or room temperature.
After Action Report
Ok, I’ll be honest, this is not a dish that I am planning on making again. For me, the bacon to bread ratio was way too small, and I didn’t feel confident that the bacon was cooked properly inside before the bread burned on top. The layer of bacon was so thin that it was tough to even measure if that layer had cooked to a safe 165ºF. After photographing the bacon pie that had been baked to spec, I threw it back in the oven for almost an additional hour. By the time that I felt the bacon was cooked, the top crust and parmesan was very dark, nearly charred.
However, having said that, my team here are the studio absolutely loved this dish, particularly the next day. They ate it for breakfast for the next couple of days in fact. Truthfully the flavors were quite nice, the bread part was similar to a challah bread, and really, you can’t go wrong with bacon an onions. This did not have a complex flavor palette but was more of a cold-day-comfort food. I find myself scything “comfort food” a lot with these vintage 70s recipes.
If I were to make this recipe again I would half the amount in the dough recipe and cook the bacon mixture prior to baking the bread to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly.
The good news is that with the benefit of Google, I found a German pie that has bacon and onions and is in my opinion, much better. Up next: Zwiebelkuchen.