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Redsugar

Beer and Dessert

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Boulangers et pâtissiers often use spirits & liqueurs in their work. Yet how many of us reach for a bottle of beer – that is, to pour its contents into a dessert! Over the few years, I have become increasingly fascinated w/ the range of imported beers offered at the local liquor shops and their prospective culinary strengths. A recent statement from the gov’t-sanctioned corporation which regulates the importation & sale of beers has revealed that the import-beer category manifested a third-straight-year of double-digit growth. The current inventory sheet lists about 80 different imports, appended by the corporation’s aspiration to add another 20 labels in the near future.

Many of us are now learning that supposedly de rigueur food-wine matchups may be contested and sometimes be surpassed by beers. Witness this interesting comment from Alan Skversky, regional exec. Chef for the Arizona-based Hops! Bistro & Brewery restaurant: “There are no set rules. But, everytime we try a different beer with a different food, we’re blown away by the possibilities.” (Neil, I am intrigued to ask you whether similar knowledge transpires to your guests at the great Bellagio in LV?)

It was fascinating to read recently of a contest held in NYC between a sommelier (I think he was from the Gramercy Tavern restaurant) and a prominent authority on beer. The final showdown on their slate of food-&-liquor pairings was a supposedly difficult, rare cheese from France. Ultimately, the judges awarded the prize to the beer advocate.

Beer has a great gustatory range. Examples: Belle-Vue Kriek, a dessert beer from Belgium, is an admirable choice to serve w/ a bittersweet, glazed chocolate-&-dried-cherry cake à la mode. Sweet stout – famously matched to fresh oysters – is delicious served with a caramelized cheesecake. (A creamy stout, including my all-time favourite dark beer, Young’s Double Chocolate, froths up beautifully beside a devil’s food cake. A doppelbock complements a spicier dessert such as pumpkin pie. And a wheat beer can be drunk happily with a raspberry crumble. I wonder if any of my beloved Pilsners (Urquell, Okacim, Frydenlund, Zywiec) would blend with anything from the sweets trolley? Hmmm…unlikely!

Perusing my journal earlier today, I selected some of the beer-flavoured desserts I’ve prepared:

Chocolate Cake (using Nethergate Old Growler Porter)

Gingerbread Cake (using Marston’s Oyster Stout)

Pumpkin Cookies (using a dark Bock)

Cheddar-Cheese Corn Bread (using Mexican Sol beer); I know, it's savoury.

Prudence Hilburn’s Beer Biscuits (using an India Pale Ale)

On several occasions I’ve baked a large pretzel-shaped bread (using either Bitburger from Ger. or Kronenburg from Fr.)

And, I’ll confess that I made an unusual Dark-Beer Sabayon to accompany a Lebkuchen Soufflé!

There’s nothing highfalutin about this Green-Tomato Chocolate Cake , except that with a later-than-usual ripening season for my tomatoes this year, I expect there’ll be a huge basket of green ones to process!

You’ll need 1 cup of peeled, seeded, puréed green tomatoes.

Cream: 2/3 cup butter & 1¾ cups granulated sugar.

Add 2 large eggs & 4 oz. melted, unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tsp vanilla extract. Blend well.

Sift together: 2½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup non-alkalized cocoa, 2 tsp. Each of baking powder & soda, and ¼ tsp salt.

Stir tomato purée into chocolate mixture. Then stir in half of dry ingredients. Next, pour in 1 cup of flat beer (enchances texture, moistness, & lightness of cake). Fold in remaining dry ingredients.

Spoon batter into two greased, floured 9-inch layer pans. Bake for about 30 mins. in preheated 350° F. oven. Later you may cover w/ your choice of Cream Cheese Icing. And perhaps decorate w/ chocolate butterflies or marzipan ladybugs.

Bon appétit – and cheers, too!


Edited by Redsugar (log)

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Our local Pix Patisserie does stout ice cream floats and Alameda Brew House does a chocolate stout shake that's supposed to be pretty popular. I've always meant to try a Guiness cake. You can use just about anything for dessert.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Pamela: Thx for your response. A Guinness Cake sounds inviting! I have recipe for Black-Velvet Ice which uses Guinness Stout & Sparkling Wine. Also, I've found a recipe in my files for a faintly bitter Guinness Stout Ice Cream which had been promoted by the American Homebrewers Association. (It would certainly cut the sweetness of a rich chocolate-oatmeal cake!) Beer can also be used to make sorbet.

The pretzel-shaped rye bread I mentioned in my original post contains 12 fl. oz of beer. However, as far as I know, beer is not used in the making of a great number of breads. Yet it imparts a pleasant, sourish flavour and a lightness of texture that is highly desirable. (The carbon dioxide in the beer lightens the dough and promotes a faster rising.)


"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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I make chocolate stout cakes quite often; they have a very interesting depth of flavor. Claudia Fleming does a Guinness spice cake in her Last Course book but I've never gotten around to trying it.

I once toyed with the idea of a Guinness ice cream at work but the response was split down the middle between "YES!" and "Why would you do such a thing?"

Along the same lines, an oatmeal stout ice cream would go nicely with any crisp or crumble.

Would love to think more outside-the-box but plain old apple fritters with cider batter are unparallelled.

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Beer can also be used to make sorbet.

I had a trio of beer sorbets at a restaurant in Belgium (In't Spinnekopke). One was made with lambic, one with a Flemish sour red, and I can't remember what the third was. They were surprisingly good (either that or I was really drunk). I've thought of trying to make a lambic one, but haven't yet.


Edited by cjsadler (log)

Chris Sadler

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Boy, I'd sure love to know where I can get green tomatoes without having to grow them myself!

Not only that, it's hard to grow good tomatoes where I live because of the climate and all that.

Hale's Ales in Seattle was known for a cheesecake they made with one of their Porters. I cut out

the recipe when it was published in the paper, wonder if I still have it......<rummage><rummage>

Now that we aren't stuck with just the likes of Coors and Budweiser, and we can choose from so many lovely microbrews, I agree that beer has many great possibilities and an interesting future in the culinary world.

In a way this topic sort of reminds me about a chef featured in an issue of Pastry Art and Design.

A real edgy guy in that he was using TOBACCO LEAVES in some dessert applications. Man, I'm sorry, but I just can't get my head around that. However, if you came up with a dessert special featuring a tobacco leaf dessert paired with a specific brew, you could call it "Bartender's Special:

Beer and a Cigarette"..........yum! :wacko:

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CHRIS: I've tried several Belgian beers, but I must say that I have yet to adapt my palate to any beer (such as Bavaria) that exceeds 8% alc./vol.! According to a Belgian acquaintance of mine, there are more than 700 brands of beer in his homeland. Surprisingly, he ordinarily drinks Stella Artois – which, incidentally, has become phenomenally popular here in my city. (Sales have risen 55 per cent during the past yr. and it has become the third-highest-selling import beer.)

I recently attended a four-course dinner hosted by a brewmaster for about 200 or so diners. Each dish created for the gala was prepared & served w/ a different Belgian beer. The Belle-Vue Kriek (made by macerating fresh cherries in the lambic) was poured as the liquid accompaniment for the bittersweet choc-&-cherry cake composite.

ANNE: Your tag line "Beer & Cigarettes" is utterly hilarious! And we're not talking about Cigarettes Russes!


"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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The Guinness cake I've made has met with rave reviews - one friend still talks about it months later, mentions it to people she introduces me to. "This is jgarner53. She makes the most awesome stout cake."

Pyramid Ale House in Berkeley makes stout ice cream floats as well.

I'm all for beer in desserts. Lord knows we usually have enough around the house. :biggrin:


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I made a beer tiramisu with reduced Young's Chocolate Stout a few years back. It worked out really well and had a coffee flavor to it as it reduced. What really caught everyone's attention was using Lambic Kriek as a glaze by reducing it to a thicker consitancy then adding some dehydrated cherries and pouring it over the tiramisu. That would work really well over cheesecake also.

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I'm trying to figure out a great dessert/flavor components that I can pair with a specific beer. This is my first attempt at doing any sort of pairing like this. It doesn't matter whether I use the beer itself is a component in the dessert -- just that the flavors match together well.

The beer in question is Brewery Ommegang's Three Philopsophers 2004 Quadrupel which is a Belgian-style ale with some Kriek (cherry lambic) mixed in.

I'm drinking some right now trying to analyze it.

The official flavor description is this:

"A dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut color. Flavors of dried dark fruit, chocolate, toffee, and caramel lend to the overall port-like aroma. A soft malt center gives way to a dry, warm wine-like finish. The strength and complexity of thei ale make it a good candidate for aging gracefully, as spicy sherry and port notes should intensify."

I've read a lot of reviews online that keep mentioning the chocolate-covered cherry taste and maltiness.

Any jumping-off points/ideas you guys might have would be awesome :)


"I like butter and the people who like butter." -TA

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"A dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut color. Flavors of dried dark fruit, chocolate, toffee, and caramel lend to the overall port-like aroma. A soft malt center gives way to a dry, warm wine-like finish. The strength and complexity of thei ale make it a good candidate for aging gracefully, as spicy sherry and port notes should intensify."

Hmmm, I'm not a beer fan but that description sounds so good! How about a dark moist gingerbread made with your beer, maybe studded with plumped up dried cherries?

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A quick search on Epicurious brought up a few ideas: the aforementioned gingerbread with different accompaniments, crepes, and apple fritters. Or you could try for a nut-based dessert as a "beer nuts" concept. As I see you are also in the south, might I suggest a variant on pecan pie? The pie base would probibly be way too sweet to drink with a beer, though. Unless you salted it. Or just put a little in a tart shell. I just don't know if you are supposed to pair the flavors in the drink with the flavors in the dish!

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Are you looking for ideas on flavors to pair with drinking this beer, or do you want to incorporate it into the dish itself? And where would you say the beer falls on the sweet to dry scale? The drier it is, the harder it will be to match a dessert flavor with, since a sweeter dessert will tend to make the beer taste more bitter.

If you want to use the beer in the dessert, I would go with milder flavors that support and enhance the fruitiness of the beer. I'm thinking somekind of moist, maybe warm almond cake (almond would bring out the cherry flavors in the beer) with vanilla panna cotta and beer gelee.

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tharrison: I rode my mouse to the New York micro-brewery’s Web site, where I read that this port-like lambic has "the flavor of dark chocolate and cherry cordials." An excerpted review from the Anchorage Press describes the nose as being redolent of "malt, dark fruits, vanilla and sweet cherries."

A couple of months ago I paired another dessert beer (Belle-Vue Kriek) with individual molded bittersweet chocolate-&-dried-cherry cakes topped by a small scoop of freshly churned vanilla-bean ice cream. The pairing with this beer (known as a kriek because fresh cherries are macerated in the lambic – a top-fermented ale) was wholly appropriate. A similar combination using the Ommegang Three Philopsophers brew could possibly merit your own approval: Perhaps a dense chocolate cheesecake with an amarena-cherry syrup glaze; or a Grand-Marnier/Orange-Choc-Mousse Cake plated with brandied cherry sauce.

On the savoury front of the meal, consider some of the sensible suggestions proffered by an online resource: “Lambic Kriek - Roast duck with cherries, turkey with cranberries, apricot-glazed country ham, fresh cherries, crepes suzettes, cherries jubilee, tuna salad sandwiches, crab and shrimp salads, hors d’oeuvres, as an aperitif. Serve chilled, 45 degrees, in Champagne glasses.” (This resource does proclaim what is now a false statement: "There is no such thing as a domestic lambic.")


"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Are you looking for ideas on flavors to pair with drinking this beer, or do you want to incorporate it into the dish itself? And where would you say the beer falls on the sweet to dry scale? The drier it is, the harder it will be to match a dessert flavor with, since a sweeter dessert will tend to make the beer taste more bitter.

If you want to use the beer in the dessert, I would go with milder flavors that support and enhance the fruitiness of the beer. I'm thinking somekind of moist, maybe warm almond cake (almond would bring out the cherry flavors in the beer) with vanilla panna cotta and beer gelee.

I'm leaning towards just pairing flavors (but incorporation is fine too). The beer isn't very sweet which isn't really a problem for me since I don't usually make insanely sweet desserts as it is. Not being a beer connoisseur I'd say that the beer reminds me a lot of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale with a slight hint of sweetness that comes from the kriek (cherry lambic) added.

Before you even mentioned an almond cake, I had been thinking about a financier (nuttiness of the beurre noisette and almonds seems a good match to that beer). Maybe with some sort of cherry compote? Almonds and cherries are a "traditional" pair as well, right? I thought about maybe a drizzle of chocolate sauce (not a puddle or anything) as well since the descriptions mentioned the chocolate.

It seems to me that if chocolate was the main flavor the beer itself would completely be left in the dust. Please feel free to tear this idea to shreds though since I'm new to this whole pairing thing and definitely second guessing myself! :laugh: hehe


"I like butter and the people who like butter." -TA

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maybe a fruit maltloaf with a hint of cherry liqeur?

bit heavy for hot weather mind you...

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My thinking about pairing the almond cake/financier and vanilla panna cotta/ice cream with the beer was to contrast and enhance the beer's flavors. I suspect that if you try to replicate the subtle chocolate and cherry notes in the dessert you will just end up muting them in the beer and it will taste dull in comparrison.

Since you say the beer isn't very sweet to begin with, I would suggest maybe thinking about a cheese course. I know it isn't most people's idea of dessert, but might have a better chance of success. Or maybe a not too sweet cheese cake made with goat or blue cheese?

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Since you say the beer isn't very sweet to begin with, I would suggest maybe thinking about a cheese course. I know it isn't most people's idea of dessert, but might have a better chance of success. Or maybe a not too sweet cheese cake made with goat or blue cheese?

I agree with Neil on this. (I should first admit that I'm not a beer drink at all! But I do know I don't like dry liquours with sweet desserts.)

I see doing something like a salted cheese flan or custard (not blue.........maybe brie or a sharp cheddar) in a phyllo cup (or a savory puff pastry straw to garnish) with caramelized peanuts that have been salted and peppered.

Maybe a savory herb in there like thyme or rosemary.........I'm curious how a curry would work too.

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As icky as it might sound at first, I've had an ice cream float made with cherry lambic... Not too bad. Really.

The gingerbread idea is also great -- there's a good recipe in The Last Course, by Claudia Fleming. Cherry Compote, Candied Kumquats, Candied Pistachios and Cream Cheese Ice Cream were the accompaniments we used with it at Gramercy Tavern. Yummy... and it saves well. I think it's one of those cakes that tastes even better the next day.

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Ice cream float with cherry lambic sounds good actually. I just recently dicovered lambic and I'm hooked. Cheryl at Pix Patisserie I believe has a guiness float and a local brew house does a chocolate stout milkshake.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Since you say the beer isn't very sweet to begin with, I would suggest maybe thinking about a cheese course. I know it isn't most people's idea of dessert, but might have a better chance of success. Or maybe a not too sweet cheese cake made with goat or blue cheese?

I agree with Neil on this. (I should first admit that I'm not a beer drink at all! But I do know I don't like dry liquours with sweet desserts.)

I see doing something like a salted cheese flan or custard (not blue.........maybe brie or a sharp cheddar) in a phyllo cup (or a savory puff pastry straw to garnish) with caramelized peanuts that have been salted and peppered.

Maybe a savory herb in there like thyme or rosemary.........I'm curious how a curry would work too.

The cheese stuff really makes sense. This is why I knew I could ask here (you are helping to push my brain up to speed) :smile:

Like I said, I have no clear idea on how to pair stuff, esp with this beer. It's not as port-like as the official description makes it seem and isn't sweet. Now that I think about it, other then with a cheese or bordering on savory dessert -- I don't know how it could really be considered a dessert beer because it tastes pretty much like a nut brown ale to me. I like the beer and peanut idea, Wendy.

I bought a bottle of the brand of cherry lambic that Ommegang says they mix into the ale and I could see that beer being much easier to pair and use in a dessert. It's sweet and very cherry flavored -- to me it tastes more like a less syrupy-sweet cherry soda -- like hard cherry cider if you will. It almost seems like they used maybe a drop of that stuff in the other beer.

Ok, more brainstorming... which if it sucks, I'll just blame on the percocet -- I just had all of my wisdom teeth removed a few hours ago :laugh:

Looking through some books for inspiration I came across a triple-creme tart in Claudia Flemming's book. Basically it says it's like a cheese souffle baked in a hazelnut tart.

Would something like that be headed more in the direction I want to go? I love hazelnuts but would almonds be better?

Are cherries in any incarnation out? Something inside of me wants to put cherries (not anything too sweet... just cherries) somewhere and somehow that seems wrong too. And I'm trying to think of accompaniments to make a composed plate out of everything...

Are there any unwritten rules/hints, besides the general ones and ones we've covered that maybe you guys have learned through trial and error that could unlock the secret to pairing that I'm missing... or is it all just practice and trying things out? :biggrin:

Now to take another nap, oy.


"I like butter and the people who like butter." -TA

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From the description, it sounds like a rich beer, but not sweet...is that correct? My husband made a cake a couple weeks ago for my office that I noted was quite good paired with a particular wine, a Montelpuciano. I also noted that it would go well with a beer if it wasn't too sweet, since the cake is sweet.

The cake fulfills the nutty component, as it is a "Pecan Pie" Cake. Believe me it is a sweet cake, but not like actual Pecan pie is sweet. (and for me, too cloying)

Just a thought...

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As to: hazelnuts or almonds, I'd opt for the hazelnuts. What comes to my mind when pairing a beer is how strongly flavored beer really is. For me, I want something that can stand up to it. If you go mild with your flavors, the beer just takes over. Almonds are very mild, they would be o.k. but then I'd want to kick-up the triple cream.

It's just opinions really.........and tasting your components together while you creating is a must. This might sound weird but I'd take a glass of beer with me and start tasting every dessert component I have on hand (and some savory items too-definately cheeses), then start smelling herbs and seasonings (with beer in hand). If your tasting something that seems too sweet with the beer, try it with a sprinkle of salt on top.

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It's just opinions really.........and tasting your components together while you creating is a must. This might sound weird but I'd take a glass of beer with me and start tasting every dessert component I have on hand (and some savory items too-definately cheeses), then start smelling herbs and seasonings (with beer in hand). If your tasting something that seems too sweet with the beer, try it with a sprinkle of salt on top.

That's what I was doing the other night when I decided I didn't want to use chcocolate with it. Hence why I also bought a few more at the store along with the brand of Kriek they say on the bottle they mixed it with for a comparison.

On that first tasting evening is when I realized it was a 10% alcohol beer... :laugh:


"I like butter and the people who like butter." -TA

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