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.
If you’re a craft beer drinker and you’re unfamiliar with PubCakes , we suggest you seek them out and discover what you’ve been missing. For the second year in a row, our Pastry Chef friends Misty and Kaitlin created a special beer-infused cupcake for our Anniversary. This time around, they were inspired by our 23rd Anniversary Old Ale; a beer with rich notes of bourbon, toffee and dried fruit. What they came up was such a hit at our annual Changing of the Barrels celebration, folks have been clamoring for the recipe ever since.
If you’re looking to have your life changed by a decadent dessert and beer pairing, test out this recipe provided by the ladies of PubCakes. And if you haven’t dropped by for a visit, check out their storefront in San Diego’s College Area, and try the Top 10 Cake made with our Tower 10 IPA.
Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary PubCake
1 cup Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary Old Ale
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
1/2 bag toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring beer to a boil, remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. While the beer is cooling, add cupcake liners to 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. Add the egg and beat in well. Next, set the mixer to low and add dry ingredients and beer in 1/3 increments until fully incorporated. Finally, add the toffee bits and mix thoroughly.
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.
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 lemon, zested
1 16 oz package powdered sugar
1. Beat the first three ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, use the back end of a wooden spoon to put a hole in the middle of each cupcake. Put the butterscotch pudding into a zip lock bag and cut off the corner to fill each of the holes with pudding. Frost in a circle with the blackberry buttercream. Finally, top with a shortbread cookie, which were rolled about 1/4” thin and in 1 1/2” rounds. Slice a blackberry in half and place on top of the cookie.