Beer-infused Crème Brûlée? Yes, well, it’s more like crem-brew-lay, but you get the gist. What started out as an off-the-wall idea three years ago has since turned into one of our favorite desserts. Brewed with cocoa nibs and locally roasted Ethiopian coffee beans, Wreck Alley adds rich layers of dark chocolate and an espresso-like roast to this classic dessert.
Our Chefs Gunther and Corey, the masterminds behind this recipe, have earned a solid reputation with their drink beer/think food approach to cooking. Continually pushing the craft beer and culinary envelope with their innovative methods, these two were recently selected to share their expertise at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego.
If you’re looking for something to pair with your after dinner Wreck Alley, give this recipe a try. Also, look for this and other great beer-centric recipes in an upcoming craft beer cookbook by Chef’s Press, the publishers behind San Diego’s Top Brewers.
Wreck Alley Crème Brûlée
2 cups Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 shallow, oven-proof ramekins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place stout in pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce to a ¼ cup. 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. While the cream heats through, whisk together egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until pale in color and sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. 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. Add the reduced stout to the brûlée mixture and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins, placed in a deep baking dish. Fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins and place in a pre-heated oven to cook 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 (available at most household supply retailers) 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.
Misty Birchall, the founder/owner/baker of PubCakes, has made a name for herself in the San Diego beer scene by combining her passion for baking with her love of craft beer. Her avant-garde method of using beer to craft decadent desserts has caught the attention of foodies far beyond America’s finest city – most notably the folks at Food Network. Misty is a champion of San Diego’s brewing community and was kind enough to create a recipe celebrating our birthday with our 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout.
Our 22nd Anniversary PubCake will be available on Saturdays at the PubCakes shop, starting March 12th. If you’re unable to make it down on a Saturday, drop by during the week and try the Top 10 Cake made with Tower 10 IPA. For those of you jonesing to get your bake on at home, follow Misty’s DIY recipe below and let us know what you think.
Karl Strauss 22nd Anniversary PubCake
*Pour remaining beer into a tulip or snifter and enjoy while baking.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground coffee (I used Treehouse Coffee Co’s Costa Rican)
1 tsp ground cloves
*Bourbon Vanilla Bean Buttercream (recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring the beer to a boil, remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. While the beer is cooling, place cupcake liners into your muffin pan (you’ll need about 12 standard size cupcake liners).
2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and sift together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar on high until mixture lightens and increases in volume. Next, add the egg and beat in well. Finally, set the mixer to low and add dry ingredients and beer in 1/3 increments until fully incorporated.
3. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven half way through the cooking time for even baking. The cupcakes are done when a stick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan as soon as they’ve cooled enough to touch, this will prevent the bottoms from steaming.
Bourbon Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
1. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add butter,sugar and vanilla bean to your standing mixer bowl which should be fitted with the whisk attachment.Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and bourbon and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute, adding more vanilla (or bourbon) if needed for spreading consistency.
2. Use a piping bag with a number 9 round decorating tip to get the same look achieved by PubCakes. Sprinkle with a bit of Mexican chocolate, if you have it on hand. Otherwise, a dash of cloves will work.
Pintail Pale Ale 5.3% ABV – An American Pale Ale brewed with Cascade and Amarillo hops for a vibrant floral aroma and citrus hoppiness. Caramel malts provide balance, rounding out its dry refreshing finish.
Oatmeal Stout 5.5% ABV – We brew our Oat Stout once a year, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. A generous amount of dark roasted malts lend coffee and dark chocolate flavors, while rolled oats provide a smooth body and delicate finish.
Scotch Ale 8.0 % ABV – A hearty Scottish-style Wee Heavy brewed with caramel and cherry wood smoked malts. This full-bodied strong ale has rich toffee flavors, hints of dark fruit, and a touch of smoke in its warming finish.
Red Trolley Ale had a banner year in 2010, winning gold medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. It takes more than two thousand pounds of hand-milled caramel malts to brew each batch but after enjoying this malty red ale for more than twenty years, we’re convinced it’s worth the extra effort.
Red Trolley Roasted Chicken: Red Trolley-brined ½ chicken, spice-rubbed, and oven-roasted. It’s served over edamame hash with corn, bacon, peppers, onions, potatoes, and Red Trolley BBQ sauce.
The Pairing: This delectable pairing is an inviting departure from Dad’s beer can chicken. The Red Trolley brine seals in layers of flavor that complement the sweetness of the succulent chicken, while its caramel malt character and undertones of dried fruit balance the savory spice between bites.