Friday, March 2, 2012

Beer and Chocolate. No Joke.

Mike the Gay Beer Guy weighs in on the wonders of chocolate and, yes, beer.

So who likes chocolate? Here’s a quick desert that takes about 20 minutes to make, 10 minutes to bake, and an evening to enjoy! We make this molten lava cake a few times a month ... very little “real” baking technique is required and the results are amazing. This recipe is from Epicurious, and can be doubled or halved as needed. For tonight I only made two, even though we have 4 ramekins. Did I mention it’s quick and easy?! And of course why would I pair this with anything other a chocolate beer!

Molten Lava Cake
Serves 2 (or 4...or 8)

3 ¼ oz bittersweet chocolate
1 ½ tablespoons butter
Pinch (or less) of salt
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg white

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease/flour (or maybe use cocoa powder?) your ramekins. Over a double boiler (or my makeshift stainless-bowl-over-a-small-pot-of-water) melt the chocolate, butter, and salt; there will be a noticeable texture change and that’s when you’re done. Set the bowl aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

In a new bowl, beat the egg yolks and 2 ½ tablespoons of the sugar together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Fold the cooled chocolate/butter mixture into the yolks and set aside. Using another bowl, whisk the egg white and remaining sugar until stiff, but not dry... the recipe from epicurious recommends using an electric beater, but for one egg, I just do it all by hand. Fold it gently into the chocolate mixture being careful not to deflate the egg white. Divide the mixture evenly into your ramekins, put them on a pan, and pop ‘em into the oven for 10 or 11 minutes.

When the cakes are done baking, let them cool for about a minute on a wire rack. Loosen the cake from the ramekin by sliding a knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a plate. Garnish with whipped cream and/or strawberries (seriously, I thought we had strawberries in the fridge... I’m kind of upset they weren’t there).

Bière au Chocolat

Our local big brewery, the Boulevard Brewing Company, just released a batch of its Chocolate Ale here in Kansas City. The beer attracted so much attention that my friends and I couldn’t even find a bar that wasn’t sold out by the time we got there, let alone buy a bottle or two to drink at home! So Dr E, my microbiologist friend, asked me to make a version... the end result is nothing like Boulevard’s, but it’s certainly something I’m happy with. The recipe is based on my Brown Porter recipe, but without the Brown malt and of course with chocolate. By the way, I told Dr E I would come up with the recipe but that HE would have to be the brewer... this is his first beer, with my assistance of course! Cheers!

OG: 1.060
FG: 1.018
IBU: 29
SBV: 5.5%

10 lbs 2-Row Malt
2 lbs Red Wheat Malt
1 lb Crystal 40
1 lb unsweetened baking cocoa powder
½ lb chocolate malt
½ lb biscuit malt
½ victory malt
1 ½ oz East Kent Golding Hops at 5% AA for 60 minutes
½ oz East Kent Golding Hops at 5% AA for 30 minutes
WLP 005 British Ale Yeast (or any English yeast will do!)

Mash grains at 155*F for 60 minutes or so. Sparge as usual. Boil your wort adding the hops at the times indicated; add the cocoa powder during the last 2 minutes or so to sanitize. Ferment (chocolate sludge and all!) at the lower end of the spectrum to provide minimal esters, but still retaining the English character... I went with 65*F. I think this beer works best with minimal carbonation; just the slightest hint of bubbles is my preference... think about 1 to 1 ½ volumes of CO2.


- Mike TGBG

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