Red, White & Brew-lee: Creme Brulee with Anchor Brewery’s Porter & Rumchata
Corona Cupcakes — Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Orange Blossom Pilsner Vinaigrette
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- “The long daylight hours in the summer makes Alaska home to some of the world’s largest pumpkins.”
- “Pumpkins were first used in beer in colonial America as a substitute for hard-to-find malt, and none other than the father of our country George Washington had a highly touted recipe.”
Well, it pleased my crowd of one anyway. Crème Brûlée is one of my husband’s favorite desserts – until we started dating I had never experienced the wonderful goodness of creamy custard nestled under crunchy, caramelized sugar. Yet, despite my enthusiasm to create other GF-approved dishes, crème brulee seemed a kitchen ambition beyond my reach.
Then I dared to ask for a kitchen torch for Christmas, which of course I received as it indicated that I might try my hand at making this French treat at home on a regular basis. Six months later, I still didn’t have any Crème Brûlée-making courage.
Then I came across a recipe in Brew Food, an awesome cookbook full of boozipes that I received as a birthday gift from one of my favorite people (thanks Missy—you’re the best!).
For whatever reason, the dessert seemed less intimidating from the pages of Brew Food. Maybe having beer as an ingredient made it less bourgeoisie and more girl next door?
So, now I was tackling the dessert on my own terms. Less Crème Brûlée and more Crème Brew-lée. Having built in word-play — “Red, White and Brûlée” or even better IMO “Red, White and Brew-lée” — may have factored in to my decision to give it a go as well. Hey, timing is everything, right?
That said, I’m sorry to say I don’t have many pictures to share. I began my first Crème Brûlée making session with excitement and in a bit of a rush as we were at the beach and I was hoping to have a finished dish ready in time for a sunset picture on the patio (which did not happen). In fact, in my hurry, I almost forgot to document the process at all. When I did remember to grab the camera, I began shooting away: Pics of the porter-reduction simmering on the stove, a dozen egg yolks atop a mound of sugar, custard filled dishes nestled in a pan of warm water sliding into the oven – you get the idea. Then, after swatting my husband away so I could take a few shots of the prepared dessert, I realized I didn’t have the SD card in my camera. Gasp! Do these things happen to other people?
I read somewhere once that we are such creatures of habit we make the same mistakes over and over again. So I’ll admit, this is the second time I’ve made a dish and taken photos – without the card in the camera — in this blog’s short life. My goal is to not make the same mistake a third time. Must check camera when gathering ingredients.
However, there is good news to come out of my photo snafu: You can make the custard ahead of time, keeping it in the refrigerator or freezer up to a week. When it’s time to serve, thaw to room temperature, sprinkle with granulated sugar and then caramelize with the broiler or your kitchen torch. Viola!
So, while the photos you see here are from the Crème Brew-lée reenactment, the wow-factor you’ll get upon serving it will not be affected.
One last thing to share and then I’ll let you get busy in the kitchen. The original recipe uses a Karl Strauss Brewery’s Wreck Alley Imperial Stout, which wasn’t available in my area so I opted for Anchor Brewing’s porter (one of my favorites). I also replaced some of the cream in the original recipe with half a cup of Rumchata (I always want to add “cha-cha-cha” at the end when I say “Rumchata”). If you haven’t yet tasted this Cinnamon Toast Crunch-like goodness in a glass, I suggest you head to your nearest watering hole asap to grab a shot. Reminiscent of Baileys, this stuff is great to sip on all alone, as a shot, in coffee, paired with your favorite mixer as a cocktail – and of course to cook with. I suspect it will pop up in other TTCG boozipes in the near future. If you are in the know, and happen to own a bottle, go ahead and invest half a cup in your Crème Brew-lée. You’ll be glad you did.
2 cups of thick dark beer like a stout or porter. I used Ancher Brewing’s Porter
3.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Rumchata
1 cup granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 shallow, oven-proof ramekins
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. While that’s pre-heating we’ll use the stove. Place the 2 cups of porter in a pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce to a ¼ cup.
2. Separate 12 egg yolks from their whites and place them is a bowl with 1 cup of sugar.
3. Place cream in a non reactive pan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream. The pod can be used as an additional flavor enhancer by adding it to the cream while heating, remove and discard before whisking. Heat cream and vanilla slowly until steaming. When cream starts to steam remove from heat. Do not boil the cream.
3. While the cream heats through, whisk together egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Pour about ½ cup of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture whisking quickly to temper the mixture. In a slow stream, add the remaining hot cream to the egg mixture while continuing to mix with the whisk.
5. Add the reduced porter to the brûlée mixture and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins, and place them in a deep baking pan.
6. Fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins and place in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, or until just set. Check for doneness by gently shaking the ramekins; the brûlée is finished baking when the edges are set/firm but the middle still jiggles a little. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to cool before serving.
Sprinkle the top of each brûlée with a thin layer of granulated sugar. With a kitchen propane torch point the flame onto the sugar and heat until it begins to melt and is deep golden brown color.
Use the broiler setting of your oven to brown the sugar by placing the brûlée about an inch away under the broiler flame/heat source for 20 to 30 seconds. Check frequently to ensure even browning.
For an additional twist on this classic, add your favorite fruit like strawberries, raspberries or banana slices to brûlée. Gently insert fruit pieces by pressing them into the cold brûlée and follow the same finishing instructios above.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!
I really like how these cupcakes turned out. The Corona gives them a little je ne sais quoi. Although, it seems kind-of funny to use French to describe a treat we created to celebrate the Mexican Day of Independence, it’s true. These little cakes don’t taste quite like white cake. They’re not yellow cake. And they’re not vanilla either. But they are delicious!
If you’re short on time, grab some store-bought frosting and get on with your festivities. However, if you have a few extra minutes to spare, I definitely recommend using them to the make the zesty frosting below. I’m not a huge fan of citrus desserts, but this lime-flavored topping was just right. Hmmm … imagine that. Lime frosting, the perfect compliment for a Corona spiked cupcake.
For the sake of full disclosure: You know the rule … make sure you have all the ingredients before beginning a baking project. Well, do as I say and not as I do. After diving in to Corona cupcakes — I had Corona after all — I realized the cupboards were low on sugar (I didn’t think that was possible). Typically, we stick to the real deal. No substitutes and no artificial this or that. On this day, however, I was fortunate to locate an unopened, still good, bag of Splenda in the pantry. So this batch of cupcakes used 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of Splenda instead of 1 3/4 cups of granulated … and no one in the house noticed a thing. Shhh.
Corona Cupcake Ingredients (Makes 24 regular sized cupcakes):
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-3/4 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Splenda)
- 2-1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp lime zest
- 1 cup Corona beer, plus more for brushing on tops
- 1/4 cup milk
- Lime wedges
- Sea salt for sprinkling on top
Instructions for the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs, beating after each addition then add the vanilla and zest.
- Combine milk and beer and alternatively add this mixture and the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture with the mixer on low speed, starting and ending with the flour.
- Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I made one batch of full sized cupcakes (9) and three batches of minis (36). So we ended up with a total of 45 treats (As I’m doing the math I’m wondering where they all disappeared to so quick — scary) Cooking the minis for half the time allotted for the full-sized version was perfect; remember they will cook much faster.
- When cupcakes are done, poke holes in the tops with toothpicks and brush a little Corona on each while still warm.
Ingredients for the Citrus Frosting
- 12 oz cream cheese, cold
- 6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 4 cups powdered sugar
To make the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the lime juice and zest and gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Beat until smooth for about 2 minutes.
- If you want to get fancy, place the frosting in a decorator bottle or into piping bag fit with a large star tip. Again, if you’re pressed for time, scoop some frosting up with a butter knife and slather on top — the taste is all the same.
- If you’re a fan of sweet/salty combinations, definitely sprinkle a little sea salt on top
And one more photo for good measure
At TTCG we love trying new things, especially craft beers. While I’m game for an occasional IPA, a Siasson or a unique lager, more often than not, I favor darker varieties. Upon occasion I’ll go for a fruit flavored beer like a Shock-top, Blue Moon or Purple Haze, but these aren’t at the top of the list. So I was skeptical the first time I was handed an Orange Blossom Pilsner (better known as OBP) to try. However, it was love at first sip. Now I hunt for this stuff (Publix at Wedgewood Lane please bring it back), aiming to always have at least one or two in the fridge. The fact that it’s a Florida-brewed beer makes it even better.
I thought it would be great to feature a boozipe straight from the brewery, so we reached out to OBP (which, by the way, also makes a super tasty Toasted Coconut Porter we’ll definitely feature in future boozipes). Despite their busy schedule making awesome beer, they obliged and provided us with a great, (and even better) super easy recipe for a vinaigrette featuring their flagship beverage.
If you saw the Vine previewing the recipe you may have noticed that the final dish was a salmon salad, while the photos featured here are of a shrimp salad. That my friends is the result of a camera snafu. It happened like this: I made the vinaigrette, my man provided an awesome grilled salmon filet, and before digging in I went to town with pictures, which I accidentally deleted later that night. Note to self: next time, upload great pictures before fooling with the camera settings. Apparently “format” on my camera means the same thing as “delete.” Anyway, that little mishap allowed for a second OBP Vinaigrette salad the following night – not a bad thing at all The point to this little story is that, IMO, the shrimp paired better with the dressing than the salmon, which didn’t completely over power the dressing but didn’t allow it to shine either. The shrimp were a little bit lighter and their slight sweetness complimented the dressing well. So, I’d recommend pairing the dressing with a shellfish, chicken or a very mild fish.
One last note. You’ll see an orange in the ingredients photo, but I actually used a lime zest instead. Confession: I forgot to get oranges during the ingredients grocery store run, but the camera snafu allowed time for another stop and I was able to grab an orange the next day for the re-enactment photos.
Orange Blossom Pilsner Vinaigrette:
3 ounces OBP
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (lime zest works well too if you forget to get an orange at the store
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
* I also added 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
In a small bowl, whisk the beer with the shallot, orange zest, and mustard. Gradually add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper and serve.
*I don’t think you can go wrong with your preparation method here here as long as you emulsify the oil and beer. Instead of combining everything in a bowl, I placed everything in a shaker – the kind with the wire ball in the bottom that they sell you with protein powder – and shook vigorously for about a minute. That did the trick too.
Orange Blossom Pilsner (better known as OBP… Yeah you know me is one of my favorite craft beers to date. What makes it even better is that it hails from right here in the Sunshine State. So we were super excited when the brewery provided us with a boozipe. That’s right. Not from a cookbook. Not from a friend. A recipe from the beer makers themselves. Details are soon to follow, but in the meantime — check out this quick video. Cheers!