Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Baking with Beer Experiment

Last week when discussing what meals we would have in the coming weeks, I mentioned to my wife that I could make chili and that I would like to use beer as an ingredient.  I immediately received the bitter beer face response that was popular in those old school Keystone Light commercials.  She was not supportive of the idea.  I believe her exact words were "that's gross, you can't use beer as an ingredient".

Now I am a firm believer that beer can add many levels of awesome to food.  So I was determined to prove to her that beer can certainly be used in cooking.  This week being Valentines Day, I knew I would be looking to make some sort of dessert when I stumbled upon a recipe for Pots de Creme, a French custard.  This would be perfect and simple to do.

6 Eggs
6 ounces of your favorite stout or porter.  For this I used Founders Breakfast Stout.
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
6 Ounces bittersweet chocolate.
The first step is to simmer the beer and sugar using a very small saucepan.  Reducing the amount of liquid to about 3 ounces, or a little less than half a cup.  Once complete, you will have a nice syrup that is liquid glory. I then chilled the mixture by putting the saucepan over ice.
The next step is to take a medium sized saucepan and simmer the milk and whipping cream.  Once it is bubbly, take it off the heat and add the chocolate.  Whisk until smooth.

Go back and check to make sure your syrup has cooled sufficiently and add your beaten eggs to the syrup and mix well.

By this time your chocolate mixture has cooled a little bit and so now you can slowly whisk the egg/syrup mixture into the chocolate mixture.  Continue whisking to combine everything nicely.

Pour the mixture through a fine strainer, so that any foam is left behind.  I poured it through a strainer into a small pitcher.  Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes.  Then pour the chocolate mixture into 6 Ramekins, up to the 3/4C mark or a little above.  Place foil over each Ramekin and place them in a baking dish.  Fill the baking dish with hot tap water to about halfway up the Ramekins.

Place in a 325 degree oven and bake for about 1 hour.  These took about 1 hour and 10 minutes for me to finally set.  Remove the Ramekins from the baking dish, let them cool a little and then place them in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

 When you are ready to serve, put a small bit of whipped cream on top and shave some semi-sweet chocolate over the top of the dessert.  Serve and enjoy!

I served this to my wife, not telling her that there was beer in it.  She loved it.  She was quite surprised by beer being an ingredient, but that didn't stop her from asking for more!

What are some of your favorite beer infused dishes?


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