04 September 2011
(Makes 1 bacon bowl)
- about 13 Rashers of Bacon
- 2 Foil Containers
1) Grab a sheet of baking paper and place out all of your vertical bacon rashers. How many you need depends on the size of bowl you want and how long your strips are; if, like me, you reckon the rashers are only just long enough to cover your foil container, place as many in a row as a rasher of bacon is long. Try to avoid having any gaps between your rashers.
2) Remove every other strip, then place your first horizontal rasher down and replace the rashers your removed earlier.
3) Fold back the rasher you didn't remove above, then place the next horizontal/vertical rasher.
You basically want to keep folding back every other vertical rasher before placing each new horizontal rasher, alternating the ones you fold back for each new rasher. I don't think I've ever written the word 'rasher' so many times in so few sentences, in fact it may just be a Guinness world record.
4) Once you've finished your weaving, you'll need to grab your first foil container and perforate it pretty much all over - a few holes in the bottom, and a few along the sides. This allows the fat to escape and the bacon to get crispy. Once you've done that, place it on top of the bacon as seen in the last picture above, then fold the sides of the baking paper over and turn the whole thing around, pics below.
5) Once you've wrapped it up and flipped it over, carefully remove the baking paper - if you do it too quickly the bacon may stick to it and you'll end up ruining your weave. With the baking paper gone you may be disappointed to find that the bacon isn't as snuggly lined up with the foil container as you'd hoped - I was - but fixing it is just a matter of carefully lifting the sides of the weave and easing it into the foil container, then pressing it gently in place with your fingers.
6) Nearly done now! All that remains before the bacon bowl is off to the oven is to get some baking beans in there. This is where your 2nd foil containter comes in handy - you'll need to make it a bit smaller by pressing all the edges in along the outside, otherwise it won't fit. Once it's small enough to fit inside your bacon weave just slide it in place and try to make it real snug by doing a sort of crab-hand dance all along the inside, pressing those edges back out again against the bacon, then fill with baking beans.
7) Place a cooling rack on top of baking paper inside a baking tray (the former allows the bacon to drip out, the latter 2 team up to collect it) and the bowl on top of that, then put it in the middle of the oven and forget about it for about 30 minutes, at which point it should be done - if the bacon doesn't look crispy enough, just leave it in there for a bit longer (bet you wouldn't have figured that one out on your own..) Once you've taken it out and removed the 2nd foil container, pat the bacon down with some kitchen roll to remove any excess fat.
Now! I did mention above that the bowl didn't quite go to plan, and that's because the bottom didn't come out as crispy as the sides. I reckon this is because the fat didn't drain out quite well enough, and next time I intend to cook it for about 20 minutes as per the above, then take it out, remove the 2nd foil container, turn the whole thing upside down and cut out the bottom of the remaining container before cooking it upside down for the remaining 10 minutes or until it looks crisp. The reason I still intend to faff around with the 2nd container is that it helps the bowl keep its shape - without it the bacon would shrink too much and you'd end up with a plate.