Bringing two delicious vices together
Fondling a frosty mug or two full of cold, crisp beer is one of the best ways to spend an evening…savoring a delicious dessert after a good meal is just as blissful. Just think of the edible ecstasy created when these two vices are combined! Follow these great tips to use beer in your favorite recipes or try one of the chef-inspired favorites below!
Opt for magnificent microbrews
First and foremost, when chosen correctly, a great beer can enhance the taste of a decadent dessert. Note that the mass-produced beer you chugged in college is not going do a dessert any justice. However, the well-crafted microbrews — and there are plenty to choose from — will pair best with a sweet treat and be the best choice to use as an actual ingredient for an ale-centric dessert recipe.
Creative combinations make dazzling desserts
Choosing the right beer is truly a matter of tasting and testing. The array of microbrew flavors gives you a nearly endless opportunity to combine dessert and drink. Chocolate stout, oatmeal stout and pumpkin ale are as dessert-like as beverages — imagine them added to your favorite chocolate cake, oatmeal cookie or pumpkin pie recipes. Yum! And don't forget the fruity or honey ales — they add depth to a standard fruit pie. In baking, a good rule of thumb is to substitute your favorite brew for half the liquid called for in your dessert recipe.
Beer is a natural for baking
Another consideration is texture. Thick, darker beers have a good body for heavier dessert recipes like chocolate cakes and pies. Lighter beers, such as Belgian wheat beers, are better suited for lighter desserts like ice cream or vanilla cakes. Regardless, the carbonation in beer can act as a leavener and lighten up dense desserts to make lighter sweets even lighter.
Don't feel confident messing with your own dessert recipes? Try these delicious treats from Chef Dan Pino!
Craft brew dessert recipes
All recipes courtesy of Chef Dan Pino, XIX Restaurant
Almond brittle recipe
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 12 ounces slivered almonds
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Combine water, sugar and corn syrup and cook in a large saucepot to 250 degrees F.
- Mix in nuts and salt and cook to 295 degrees F, stirring constantly.
- Take the pot off the flame, mix in the butter, baking soda and vanilla extract and stir until the butter is melted.
- Pour the mixture onto a well-buttered cookie sheet and allow to cool and harden, then coarsely chop.
- Brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Belgian Abbey Dubbel almond brittle milk chocolate chunk ice cream recipe
Makes 4 servings
- 2 cups finely chopped almond brittle (recipe above)
- 2 quarts heavy cream
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1-1/4 cups milk powder
- 2-1/4 cups sugar
- 28 egg yolks
- 3 bottles Flying Fish Belgian Abbey Dubbel
- 2 cups roughly chopped almond brittle
- 1 cup milk chocolate chunks
- Combine the finely chopped almond brittle, cream, milk, corn syrup and milk powder in a large saucepot and heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature is 140 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is a uniform yellow color.
- Slowly stir the hot cream into the egg mixture, then transfer the mixture back into the saucepot. Cook the mixture until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F.
- Chill for 24 hours.
- Add the Belgian Abbey Dubbel. Pour this mixture into an ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- When ice cream is made, fold in the roughly chopped almond brittle and the milk chocolate chunks.
- Freeze until firm.
Macerated raspberries with stout foam and shaved dark chocolate recipe
Makes 4 servings
- 2-3/4 cups milk
- 2-3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3/4 cups high-quality stout
- 2 pints raspberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 8 ounces 73% dark chocolate
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and chill for about 2 hours.
- Add the stout and whip the mixture with beaters until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Chill until ready to use.
- Puree and strain 1 pint of raspberries with the sugar and salt.
- Toss the second pint of raspberries with the puree.
- Grate the chocolate on a box grater.
- Spoon about an ounce of stout foam onto a plate.
- Gently arrange the macerated raspberries in the middle of the foam.
- Sprinkle the grated chocolate generously over and around the raspberries and serve immediately.
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