I promise. I did spell that correctly. It’s like tiramisu … with a “b” … because it’s made with beer. Yup! So how does one actually combine beer with dessert? I know some of my friends would say that beer is a meal in and of itself … or could be enjoyed as an after meal treat. Last year I tried combining beer with breakfast in a savory way … but this recipe is for a sweet dessert inspired by Orlando Brewing Company’s Blackwater Porter. I have to confess, I’m not typically a beer girl. Two sips from a bottle and I’m usually done. I’m more of a wine girl. And after Mexico … a tequila girl.
So, how did I get lured in by a brew? Well, there are a couple of reasons. In no particular order …
A) After chugging down a cheap cold brew in 5 minutes flat after the Key West Half Marathon … I discovered that beer was an excellent way to recoup carbs after a run.
B) During a TV pilot video shoot, Orlando Brewing educated me on the fine art of beer tasting. From light to dark … I lost count after tasting 6 beers. I think there were 12 total. John Cheek, President of Orlando Brewing (all around awesome dude with fun shoes), swears that beer has more range and depth of flavor than wine. I tried to validate this data by researching it online, but could only find a really fun cartoon on Oatmeal.com that discusses 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer. So I’ll just trust John and his infinite brew wisdom that BEER could possibly be more sophisticated than wine. Who would have thought? Guess I’ll have to hold my pinkies up when sipping a pint.
C) As if I needed only a smidgen of a healthy reason to take on a new habit … such as beer being loaded with B vitamins … eh uhm … Orlando Brewing’s Blackwater Porter has the scent and flavor of coffee. So I’ve just transferred my morning vice for an evening vice with the same flavor.
I never did get the story on the label that has a crazed looking bearded hillbilly man panning for gold. Oh well. Something to discuss over our next brew.
So, now I’m am beer girl too.
Add to that dessert-girl and carb-girl and thank goodness I’ve got some long distance major calorie burning runs over the next few months!
Speaking of carbs, Chef Steve at The Portobello, created a pretty awesome dessert inspired by the coffee notes of the Blackwater Porter … beer tiramisu … Biramisu. I’m pretty impressed with The Portobello. Not only do they use local ingredients as much possible (independently owned local organic beer from Orlando Brewing, produce from Plant City), but they also make their pasta fresh daily … by hand … I swear! In a world of franchises and fast food over by the Disney area, I was pretty impressed to drive off of I-4 and feel like I was transported to a kitchen in Tuscany. But I guess Disney is magic like that. Here is photographic evidence that their pasta doesn’t come from a box …
And their shredded cheese is not from a bag …
This is as close as it gets to walking into a family owned bistro on the streets of Sorrento in Italy. Except no passport is needed. The Portobello has to be best place for pasta and Italian in Orlando, FL. I’ll be there for the Disney Princess Half Marathon with all my running peeps for sure!
So … back to the beer. Chef Steve gave me a lesson in making a beer reduction. Easy … because it’s really just two ingredients. Tricky … because you could quickly have a boiled over mess. Watch Chef Steve and learn …
Pour the beer into a sauce pan. If you take a swig of beer … be sure to measure it. Chef Steve is pretty precise.
Combine the beer with sugar (precise measurements below) and simmer on low heat until the volume is reduced by approximately one half. You can take visual note of this by the line of liquid on the inside of the sauce pan. The whole process should take about an hour. Be sure to keep it on LOW heat, otherwise you’ll have a beer volcano eruption all over your stove. And that’s just wasting perfectly good beer.
You’ll know it’s done when the texture and consistency is like syrup. And, yes, this would also be excellent on pancakes.
Beer with breakfast. Just sayin.
Chill the beer reduction in your refrigerator. I’ll share Part 2 of the recipe with you tomorrow.
Today I have an lesson in Italian for you. It’s only one word, but I wouldn’t say it’s easy. I think the first time I said this aloud it came out like “za-bag-lee-oh-nee” which sounded like some kind of pasta dish. And since I knew it was Italian, I thought making the word sound like a pasta would score me some points in correct pronunciation. Wrong. So, though it is Italian, it sounds a little more French. (But don’t tell the Italians I said that.)
The word of the day … zabaglione. Pronounced … zä-bəl-ˈyō-nē
It is an Italian custard that is typically made with egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet white wine. But for this recipe, instead of the wine … we’re going to use BEER! The beer reduction from the coffee scented Orlando Brewing Blackwater Porter from Part 1 yesterday.
First we’ll make the zabaglione. Then we’ll add some mascarpone cheese (my favorite!) to create the cream for the Biramisu.
Here’s what you’ll need …
Egg yolks, confectioner’s sugar, a smidgen of the beer reduction, and mascarpone cheese.
(exact measurements included in the recipe below)
Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a large, heat-resistant mixing bowl.
Add water to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. This is going to be your water bath to gently heat and cook the eggs. If you’re the type of cook that gets distracted easily (kids … tv … beer) then this is where you want to pay close attention as it can go wrong in a number of different ways. Mainly, you’ll end up making breakfast instead of dessert.
Hold the heat resistant bowl over the bowling water (protect your hands from the heat with a dish cloth) and whisk the eggs and sugar until well blended and smooth. It will start to thicken and nearly double in volume as you are whisking air into the mixture.
If you stop whisking, here is what you’ll get …
A) sweet scrambled eggs
B) sweet quiche
C) sweet omelet
This is not a breakfast recipe … so keep whisking so you end up with a pudding or custard like texture.
After whisking and gently cooking for about 5 minutes, you should have something that resembles this …
Immediately chill over ice.
Now, if the boiling water bath makes you a bit nervous, I have a couple of options for you.
If you want to go all fancy and French with your Italian cooking … you can use a bain-marie.
If you want to keep it simple, Chef Steve gave me an alternative. It is sort of cheating, but works just the same.
Alternative: Mix “pasteurized” egg yolks with confectioners sugar in a blender. No need to heat or cook.
Now, add the mascarpone cheese and whip smooth on medium to high speed. Turn mixer to low speed and add the beer reduction. If you spill some, just lick your fingers. (I wont tell Chef Steve …)
Next add the chilled zabaglione.
Continue to whip the cream mixture until well blended. Chill and hold the finished cream. We’ll put it all together with the beer reduction and lady fingers tomorrow to create Biramisu.
I mentioned that I needed to get the story about the Blackwater Porter label over a brew. I do love good tweetable trivia and a good beer! Well, I got the story and my previous assumptions made for a pretty embarrassing moment!
This weekend, my friend, Janice, was in town and I wanted to share with her my passion for experiencing local flavor. She’s typically a SoloTraveler, but was excited to catch up after our trip to Mexico and interested in seeing the side of Orlando that tourists usually don’t venture to. So I drove her off the beaten path a bit to the Tap Room at Orlando Brewing so we could taste some local beer.
Our flight included Blackwater Porter, Eminent Domain, Pompous Ass and Pelican Stout. My favorite is still the Blackwater Porter. Light, coffee scented and refreshing. Janice had a hard time deciding which of the later 3 were her favorite.
Just as we were preparing to leave, John Cheek, president of Orlando Brewing strolled up to say hello. This was impeccable timing as Janice had a lot of questions about the brewery that I didn’t know the answers to. Who better to ask than the man that started the establishment?
Since I had sipped a few beers, the “think-before-you-speak” part of my brain had been turned off. I piped in and asked, “So, what’s the story on the crazy looking bearded hillbilly on the label of Blackwater Porter?” John says, “Well, he’s actually standing right over there. He’s one of the partners here at Orlando Brewing.” I immediately bit my lip … sank into the bar stool … and tried to crawl under the counter. (Open mouth, insert foot, chase with a beer.)
His name is Gene and he is a real person, not just clip art used for a label. Gene’s in charge of beer distribution and gave Janice an I the history on all their beer labels. His story about the gold panning was a fun one. About 20 years ago he and some friends decided it would be an exciting camping trip. After buying all the necessary supplies, taking pictures in the depths of some mines, enduring weather so cold that the pillows froze to the side of the tent, they found less than a palm-full of gold nuggets. If this story were a credit card ad, it would have gone something like this …
Camping equipment … $3000
Emergency room visit for frost bite … $1000
Spending time outdoors with your buds and only finding $30 worth of gold nuggets… priceless.
Well, here’s the last little nugget you need to make Biramisu.
Starting with … the cookie …
They create almost everything by hand at The Portobello (now called Terralina Crafted Italian). I asked Chef Steve to tell me how much pasta they make every day. He said it looked like a 50 1lb piece of chewing gum before they shape it. My running buds and I could certainly put a dent in that. We’ll have to go there for a little pasta-palooza party before our next long distance run. And since we’re getting up to 18 and 20 miles, I think we deserve a little dessert! Dessert! Ah … back on topic …
The last part of the biramisu recipe is the lady finger biscuit which essentially includes eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, baking power … and … their secret ingredient, orange zest. The orange zest really brings out the flavor of the beer.
Now, I can’t actually *give* you the recipe for their lady finger biscuits. This is the one part that remains a secret. So you’ll have to go to The Portobello to taste the real thing. Chef Steve says you can save some time and substitute with store bought lady fingers.
One tip I can give you is to change the shape. A round lady finger (biscuit) will fit quite nicely into a beer glass for serving. Use a round cookie cutter to make them the size you need.
Next, play with your food and eat the left over o-rings …
Using two different sizes helps the biscuits fit the tapered shape of the glass.
Now … the beer!
Pour the remaining beer reduction into a wide, but shallow, bowl. (Hopefully you didn’t use it all as pancake syrup.)
Place the cookies into the reduction and let them soak for a bit. They should start getting heavy with beer and start to sink.
When they start to sink, flip them over.
I know, I know, you’re jealous of the biscuits that get to swim in beer reduction.
I can only imagine the grunts my beer-loving guy friends are making right now.
Layer the biscuits and cream into the dish you’ll be serving them in. Preferably, since it is BEER-amisu … a beer glass!
Top it off with some whipped cream and skim off the top so that it looks like a frothy beer.
And there you have it. Biramisu made with the incredible tasting Blackwater Porter … slightly coffee tasting … somewhat malty … and definitely delicious.
If you’re in Florida this month and interested in testing what I keep calling the “coffee” beer, then check out Oktoberfest at the Tap Room. It’s the kind of hidden gem that only the locals know about and is a great way to celebrate the Fall season!
Biramisu – A Beer Based Tiramisu Recipe
From the Portobello Country Italian Trattorria & Orlando Brewing Company
FOR THE BEER REDUCTION
24 oz (vol) Orlando Brewing Blackwater Porter
16 oz (wt) Granulated Sugar
Combine the beer and sugar in a heavy sauce pan and reduce on low heat by approximately one half. The initial volume will be approximately 40 ounces which will yield 20 ounces. The consistency will be slightly syrupy. Chill in refrigerator.
FOR THE CREAM
28 oz (wt) Mascarpone cheese
6 oz (wt) Confectioner’s sugar
7 oz (vol) Beer reduction (above)
5 oz (vol) Egg yolk (pasteurized)
Combine the egg and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk continuously over a boiling water bath to make a zabaglione. The egg and sugar mixture will gradually increase in volume by approximately 100% and the mixture will thicken and become opaque. This process will take about five minutes. It is very important to whisk the mixture or the yolks will solidify. The zabaglione should be chilled over ice.
Place the mascarpone in the work bowl of a stand mixer while the zabaglione is chilling. Whip the cheese on medium – high speed until smooth and soft. This process will take approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the beer reduction to the cheese while the mixer is running. Once the beer reduction is incorporated, add the chilled zabaglione and continue to work the mixture on low speed until the mixture is smooth (1 to 2 minutes more). Stop and scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure the ingredients are combining properly. Increase the speed back to medium – high and whip the mixture for one more minute. Chill and hold the finished cream.
To assemble the biramisu, you will need six pint glasses and 24 lady finger biscuits cut into neat rounds which are smaller than the interior diameter of the pint glasses. You will also need the mascarpone cream and the remaining beer reduction from the recipes above.
Soak the biscuits in the remaining beer reduction for at least 2 minutes to allow the liquid to be absorbed. The biscuits should be saturated.