Candied bacon and chocolate tartlet with pork scratching snap


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Whenever I think of chocolate, for some reason I always hark back to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not the book but the film. And not the film with Johnny Depp and his eerie rictus grin but the original slightly twisted and dark version born out of the Seventies, starring Gene Wilder and that boy who never amounted to anything else. It’s the start of the movie that made the biggest impression on me, where the opening credits show hundreds of chocolate bars rattling through a production line.

Cocoa beans get scattered down pipes; chocolate buttons and shapes cascade over steel trays; vats of molten sweet lava bubble and steam in the background; and biscuits and wafers trundle along conveyor belts and get smothered in glorious liquid brown chocolate. The impact that sequence made on me when I was a kid was something else I can tell you. Even the electric shock I got from dust and static after licking the television screen didn’t put me off. Making chocolate and working with it looked like this wonderful, gorgeous, magical thing. Although as a child, I would probably argue that eating chocolate was even better.

Having played around with a lot of chocolate in the kitchen lately, I would still argue that eating the stuff was better than cooking with it because trying to coming up with a humdinger of a dish for the 2014 Godiva Chocolate Challenge has been slightly fraught. Chocolate, though glorious, can be unforgiving sometimes and when tempering chocolate, there is a clue in the name of this particular technique as to what can happen. As such, on a couple of occasions, bowls of grainy, crystallised gloop have been plonked down in front of happy children whilst Dad goes off and shouts at himself at the bottom of the garden.

But I think I got there with this adventurous take on a chocolate tartlet that ‘dares to be different’ by adding some bacon to the mix. Yes, bacon.

Actually, pairing cured rashers of pig with chocolate isn’t too much of a stretch of the imagination these days what with the advent of bacon jam and I hear that you can find bars of luxury chocolate flavoured with streaky on some shop shelves. However, in my self-absorbed opinion, what sets this dessert apart is the addition of a pork scratching snap. Admittedly, this is an idea half-inched from fellow food blogger Zoe Perrett who shoved a slab of chocolate-coated crackling under my nose at a supper club recently. But I reckon my shard of caramel, delicately flavoured with desiccated pork fat, is slightly more refined.

In fact, the addition of bacon doesn’t overpower this dish at all. There is still that decadent hit of bitter cacao, delivering those flavonoids which contract the pupils in your eyeballs. But with the addition of salty sweet bacon nuggets into the mix, I do sincerely believe that this dish goes into warp overdrive.

Could this be a dessert straight off the Willy Wonka production line? I like to think so.

Find out more about the 2015 Godiva Chocolate Challenge.




Sweet pastry

  • 100g of butter, chilled and cubed
  • 50g of icing sugar
  • 175g of plain flour
  • 1 egg


Pork scratching snap

Caramel sauce

  • 100g of double cream
  • 50g of light brown sugar
  • 50g of butter

To serve

  • crème fraîche
First make your sweet pastry (or pâte sucrée) by blending the butter, icing sugar, plain flour and egg in a food processor and mix until everything comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour
Preheat your oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 and butter four individual 10cm tart tins
Next make your candied bacon by frying the streaky pieces in a pan until they are cooked through and slightly crispy. Place in a bowl and stir through the golden syrup. To refine further, place in a blender or food processor and pulse very briefly to make smaller nuggets
To make the chocolate filling, put the cream and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and mix until melted. Stir in roughly two-thirds of the bacon nuggets (keeping some back for presentation)
Pour the chocolate and bacon sauce into the cooked pastry cases, then leave to set at room temperature for an hour or so (this will keep the chocolate filling shiny)
To make the pork scratching snap, place the sugar in a saucepan and gently heat until it melts and forms a caramel. Jiggle the saucepan slightly to help it on its way and do keep an eye on it, as in my experience it can burn very quickly
Add the butter and the chopped pork scratchings and mix together. Then pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, spreading thinly with a pallet knife. Leave to cool and set, then cut or smash with the back of a knife to create shards
Finally, make the caramel sauce by heating the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, take off the heat and then mix through the cream
To serve, drizzle the caramel sauce over your plate of choice, place the chocolate tart on top, add a quenelle of crème fraiche and a shard of the pork scratching snap and then dot a small spoonful of the remaining candied bacon onto the crème fraiche. Enjoy!
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