This recipe was prepared by Montana BHA member and chapter Vice Chair, Tom Healy. The dessert features elk bacon, made from a cow Tom had harvested last fall. The fat came from a beatiful color phase black bear shot by Montana Chapter Coordinator, Kevin Farron. Though Tom presented this dish at the 2019 Montana Campout, it was clearly a community effort as all good wild game dishes tend to be.
Elk Bacon, Almond & Bear Fat Brittle
- 2 oz. ek shoulder bacon – chopped into 1/4” pieces
- 1/3 cup maple sugar
- 2 tbs pine nuts, almonds, sesame seeds or other nuts.
- 1 tbs bear fat or butter
- Put all ingredients in a small cast iron pan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Heat the mixture into the “soft crack” state (above 270 degrees) The mixture will be very bubbly and turning a deep chocolate brown.
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can check doneness by removing the pan from the heat and drizzling a small bit of the mixture onto a plate and place it in the freezer. It should get tacky and then hard. Return to heat if it is not at a good brittle state.
- When the mixture is ready, spread it onto a marble counter top, or a greased cold cookie sheet.
- Break and chop into small chunks when hard.
Maple Buttermilk Frozen Custard
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 6 egg yolks
- rhubarb-red currant jam
- cayenne pepper
*Yields 1 quart frozen custard
- Whip the egg yolks together in a small mixing bowl.
- Blend the cream, buttermilk, maple sugar and salt in a sauce pan with a heavy bottom and bring to a simmer at low-medium heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Remove the mixture temporarily and pour about one cup into the whisked egg yolks, and then pour and incorporate the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan with the rest of the ingredients.
- Return the sauce pan to medium heat.
- Constantly stirring, bring the mixture to 180 degrees (the custard should coat the wooden spoon nicely at this point.)
- Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into a mixing bowl.
- Continue to stir until the custard is room temperature. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
- Leave the custard in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Once the mixture is cool put it into a hand-crank ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Garnish the frozen custard with the Elk Bacon Brittle crumbles, jam, mint and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
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Photos by author