Bow down to your new Queen, the Queen of PORK! These culinary adventurers figured a crown full of jewels was far too impractical in today's hungry society. What Queen shouldn't provide for her humble servants? And what tastier way to provide than sacrificing her very own pork crown! Here piggy piggy, let me bow down for thee...
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
- wire mesh (hardware cloth - 1/2" screening)
- Teflon-coated aluminum foil
- sharp pencil
- small food processor (1 or 2 cup size)
- Irish bacon, 6 pieces
- low-fat (center cut) bacon (rashers), 2 pieces
- 1/4 tsp transglutaminase (Activa brand TG-RM)
- pastry bag
- large rose petal cake decorating tip
- large round cake decorating tip (or star tip so long as the opening is wide)
- flower nail
- baking sheet with rim
- full-wrap safety goggles*
- face masks*
- latex or nitrile gloves*
- kitchen torch (optional)
This type of TG only has a working time of about 30 minutes, so you'll want to have everything ready beforehand.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
Cut the wire mesh to a piece about 10"x10" (25.5x25.5cm). Gently bend it into a curve. Try it on as a tiara, and modify as necessary until you have a good fit (bend it more, trim the width down, etc.). Set the mesh down on a table, convex side up, and cover with Teflon-coated foil. The Teflon side should be facing up. Tuck the foil under the edges to secure it. Use the pencil to poke drainage holes in the foil.
Lay the two slices of bacon down on the mesh-and-foil mold, then place the mold on the baking sheet. Gently tug and tuck the ends of the bacon strip under the edges of the mold to reduce shrinkage. Make sure that the center ends of the bacon slices overlap by at least 2".
Trim all fat off the Irish bacon (there won't be much, but it will help immensely).
Prepare a pastry bag with a round tip and cover the flower nail with Teflon-coated foil.
Meat Glue: Don your safety gear and get out the food processor. Process the Irish bacon and TG into a smooth paste. This may take a few minutes, and you might need to add up to 1 tsp of water while doing it. Spoon the meat paste into the pastry cuff. First pipe a bit of the meat paste between the overlap of the bacon slices to seal them together. Smooth the top slice down, and remove any meat paste that may ooze out of the seams. Continue to pipe out the structure of the tiara, following the schematic. It needs to be taller than you think it should be to allow for shrinkage. (Instructions continue below video.)
Switch to the petal tip on the pastry bag and prepare to create the meat roses. Place a small piece of aluminum foil over the flower nail. In the center of the foil with the small end of the petal tip up, squeeze the meat paste into a cone shape. This is the center of your rose. Continue to squeeze out short strips of meat paste while rotating the flower nail in the fingers of your other hand. Remember to stop completely and pull the tip away when finishing a petal. Start the next one by slightly overlapping the petal you just completed. Continue to create petals until your rose is as full as you wish.
Place the roses strategically to hide where the piped bling meets the headband bacon strip, and wherever else you like on the tiara. To move the roses from the nail to the tiara, use the flat of a knife.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook it to your liking. Honestly, we sort of forgot about it and probably let it go for about 45 minutes. Just check on it often. If it seems to be browning too fast in spots, cover it with some foil and let it continue to cook until it is no longer soft.
If you find the outside edges are too brown compared to the pinkish middle (where the meat was thicker, as in our picture), use a kitchen torch to carefully brown the pinker middle bits.
Put on your best beauty queen smile and practice your royal wave—honey, you're a Pork Princess!