Late Summer Bounty: 3 Fruity Desserts with Beer

Cooking with Beer by | Aug 2010 | Issue #43

Photos by Sean Z. Paxton

Using beer’s flavors in fruit-based desserts generates new possibilities that challenge our trained palates and elevate the last course of a meal to a delightful, unexpected finish. This time of year, the markets are full of wonderful ripe fruits that are perfect for fresh, seasonal desserts, making summer the perfect opportunity to think about what styles of beers will enhance what Mother Nature has created, while adding extra layers of complexity to a carefully chosen beer selection. These recipes play with traditional desserts, boosting the beer pairing possibilities and making for a sweet finale for your guests.

Lemon Saison Bars
The balance between the butter-rich crust and the light sour tang of the lemon mixed with a spicy and complex Belgian-style ale takes these cookie bars to new heights. Just a touch of orange adjusts the sweet-to-tart ratio in the custard layer of this cookie.

Makes: 9 x 13 pan of bar cookies

Shortbread Crust Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup malt powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup butter, unsalted
2 each egg yolks, large
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

Shortbread Crust Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, malt powder, and salt. Pulse to mix until thoroughly combined. Remove the top and add in the cubed butter. Pulse the butter until it has been cut into the flour mixture and resembles pea-size pellets in the bowl. Next, add the egg yolks, vanilla, and cream, pulsing until just combined. If this is over-mixed, the crust will toughen. Empty the bowl into a non-greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Press the dough into the pan, creating an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Place into the center of the preheated oven and bake until a light golden-brown color forms around the edge of the pan, about 22–24 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool slightly. Drop the oven temperature to 325°F.

Lemon Saison Topping Ingredients:
3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 each lemons, zested (about 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup lemon juice, preferably organic (about 4 lemons total)
1 each orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice, preferably organic
1/2 cup Saison, Tripel, or Blond style of beer
8 each eggs, large, at room temperature
6 each egg yolks, large, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
confectioners’ sugar (powder or icing sugar)

Lemon Saison Topping Directions:
In a mixer or large bowl, with a whisk, add the sugar and flour, mixing well. Add the lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, beer, eggs, egg yolks, and salt. Mix on high speed for 3–4 minutes, until the mixture is light and bubbly. Pour this egg mixture over the cooked shortbread crust. Place into the center of the oven and bake for another 28–35 minutes. The cookie bar will be done when the egg mixture is set, with a light crust atop, but not browned. The custard will be set and fairly firm. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before cutting into squares. Top the squares with a liberal dusting of confectioners’ sugar to finish.

Variations:
• Create a lemon meringue pie cookie by putting four of the leftover egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until stiff peaks form, then spread onto the cooked and set cookie. Place the pan of cookies back into the oven (set to 325˚F) for 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool and serve.
• The Lemon Saison Topping can be made separately and used in place of a lemon curd by mixing all the ingredients together and adding to a pot over medium heat. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 175˚F, and remove from the heat.

Banana Hefeweizen Cream Pie
By playing up the estery yeast profile of a Hefeweizen, the banana and clove characteristics in this cream pie add depth and complexity to a perfect picnic treat.

Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Malted Vanilla Bean Wafer Cookie Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar, preferably organic
1/2 cup malt powder
1 each vanilla bean, split in half, seeds scraped out
1 each large egg, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla bourbon paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Malted Vanilla Bean Wafer Cookie Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter, sugar, malt powder and the seeds from the inside of a vanilla bean, and fit with a paddle attachment. Set the mixer to medium speed, creaming the ingredients together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once, mixing about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until fully emulsified into the mixture, then add the vanilla paste.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk, blend together until well mixed. Add this to the butter mixture, turning the mixer to the lowest setting, mixing only until the flour is incorporated into the butter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and clean the dough from the paddle.

Line a sheet tray with either parchment paper or a Silpat. Using two teaspoons, fill one with a scoop of dough, then use the other spoon to scrape the cookie dough onto the tray, spacing equally, about 1 inch apart. Fill the tray with dough balls, and then lightly press each one down to flatten them to the size of a quarter. Place the sheet tray in the center of the oven and bake for 15–18 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Hefeweizen Cream Pudding Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
12 oz. Hefeweizen
1 cup sugar, preferably organic
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 each vanilla bean, split in half, seeds scraped out
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 each large eggs, at room temperature
3 each large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla bourbon extract

Hefeweizen Cream Pudding Directions:
In a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, add the cream, Hefeweizen, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. In a medium-size bowl, add the eggs, yolks, remaining sugar, and cornstarch; whisk together until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Using a ladle, add some of the cream beer mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine, tempering the egg mixture, preventing the eggs from scrambling. Repeat this process a few times, bringing the temperature of the egg mixture close to the temperature of the cream beer mix, and then transfer to the pot. Turn the heat to medium low, bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken; scrape the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon.

Transfer the pastry cream to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and turn on to a medium speed. As the pastry cream beats, the slightly curdled eggs will break down, creating a bit of an airy custard. Add the butter and whisk for 15–20 minutes, cooling the mixture to room temperature. Then transfer the pudding to a container, covering with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerator until ready to use.

Pie Crust Ingredients:
1/2 lb. malted vanilla bean wafer cookies
2 oz. almonds or pistachios, lightly toasted
2 tbsp. butter, unsalted, melted

Pie Crust Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, add the cookies, nuts, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until the mixture is ground into a fine meal. Add the melted butter and pulse until it is mixed in well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press into the pan, creating a uniform layer on the bottom and up the sides. Place the plate into the oven and bake for about 5–8 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove and cool completely before using.

Mascarpone Cream Topping Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp. powdered sugar (confectioners’ or icing)
2 tbsp. malt powder
1 tbsp. vanilla bourbon extract

Whipped Cream Topping Directions:
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream, mascarpone, sugar, malt powder, and vanilla. Whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy, and until the mixture holds a peak.

Pie Filling Ingredients:
4–5 each large bananas, with skins that have a touch of green on the edges
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 recipe Hefeweizen Cream Pudding

Pie Filling Assembly:
Peel the bananas and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place into a bowl, adding the lemon juice. This will prevent the bananas from discoloring. Take the pre-baked and cooled crust, and add half of the Hefeweizen Cream Pudding mixture, topping with half of the bananas. Then add the rest of the pudding and again, top with the bananas. Top the bananas with the Mascarpone Cream and, using a pastry knife, form into a cone-shaped mound. Let the pie set in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

Tripel Poached Peaches with Sabayon Sauce
This is a simple yet elegant dessert. Note: When buying fresh peaches from your favorite store or local farmers market in-season, ensure that they’ll continue to sweeten by avoiding refrigeration; this will stop the sweetening process, and the peach will only become more ripe.

Serves: 4–6

Tripel Poached Peach Ingredients:
750 mL. Allagash Tripel (or other Tripel)
1/2 cup sugar
1 each vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
4–6 each peaches, organic, just ripe, preferably stone-free variety, washed

Tripel Poached Peach Directions:
In a saucepan, preferably one that is taller than it is wider, add the beer, sugar, and vanilla bean, and place over medium heat. Watch for a boil-over, as the carbonation mixed with a just-boiling beer can foam over and make a sticky mess. Simmer for 6 minutes to infuse the flavors into the beer. Carefully add the peaches, making sure not to splash and poach the peaches for 8 minutes. Remove the peaches and cool slightly.

Once all the peaches are poached, turn the heat to medium high and reduce the poaching liquid till it’s 1/3 its original volume and has the consistency of a light syrup. Cut each peach in half, removing the pit, and place two halves per plate. If desired, the peaches can be peeled first.

Sabayon Ingredients:
3 each large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup Tripel poaching liquid
1/4 cup heavy cream
1–2 tsp. pink peppercorns, lightly cracked

Sabayon Directions:
In a stainless steel bowl (that can be placed over simmering water in a pot to create a double boiler) add the egg yolks, reduced poaching liquid (at room temperature, or the eggs will curdle), and a pinch of salt; whisk to froth the yolks. Place the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk the mixture until it doubles or triples in volume, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat when the entire mixture is foamy and no liquid is present at the bottom. Cool slightly.

In another bowl, whip the cream to a soft peak. Then fold the whipped cream into the cooked egg mixture to create a light, pourable custard.

To serve, pour over the poached peaches. Use any remaining poaching syrup around the edge of the plate and sprinkle the Sabayon with a few pinches of the pink peppercorn.

Variations:
• Try using apricots or plums instead of peaches. Reduce the cooking time of the fruit to 4–5 minutes.
• For those who like adventure, substitute Szechuan peppercorns for the pink peppercorns. This will create a numbing effect on the palate.