Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stout Creme Brulee.

I was raised on handwritten sentiments.  Notes, cards, letters, messages on the pad of paper next to the telephone.  To this day, my mom sends me a card every Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthday, Arbor Day, Daylight Savings...day.  This is despite the fact that our mailboxes are just 6.5 miles apart.

There's one note in particular that I vividly remember.  She left it in my lunchbag.  It was a small, pink, heart-shaped sticky with scalloped edges and it was taped to my sandwich.

"Don't let the turkeys get you down."

4th grade was a cruel year and she knew it.

I've inherited the same note-writing tendencies and frequently leave them around the house for Mike to find.  We operate on entirely opposite work schedules and there are some days when the easiest (and most amusing) way to communicate is via sticky note.

I found a ridiculous recipe for stout creme brulee on brew.cook.pair.joy.  While mine didn't turn out quite as pretty, it tasted incredible.  I left the individual brulees in the fridge for dude to snack on in the early morning post-work hours.

Stout Creme Brulee
Recipe from brew.cook.pair.joy

Here's what you'll need:

6 ounces heavy whipping cream
4 ounces half and half*
6 ounces stout**
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
sugar, for torching/broiling

*I didn't have half and half on hand so I substituted 2 ounces heavy cream and 2 ounces milk.
**I went with my old faithful, Southern Tier Oat.  Yum.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.  Set aside.

In a saucepan set over med-low, combine the cream, half and half and stout and bring to a simmer.

Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and salt.  Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture.

 Strain into a measuring cup.  Preferably one just slightly larger than this one.

Place 4 small (6-8 oz) ramekins in a deep baking pan.  Carefully pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 65-70 minutes or until the centers are no longer jigglypuffs.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.

The centers fell slightly after I took them out of the oven.  Maybe because of the half and half substitution?  Not a huge deal to me but if you're a presentation freak, be forewarned.

When ready to serve, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of the custard.  Pick your fire source (blow torch, broiler, Hungarian Horntooth) and heat the sugar until it caramelizes.

I placed the ramekins on the top rack under the broiler for about 30 seconds.

 I burned them.

Or so I thought.  

The top turned out juuuust right.  Crunchy and caramelized.  Like a layer of sugary ice on a frozen pond, as cornball as that sounds.  There are few things more satisfying than tapping your spoon on top and breaking through that first layer.  The great thing about this particular beer dessert is that the stout doesn't bake off, as it often does in cakes.  It was rich and roasty and mingled wonderfully with the bittersweet chocolate.  

As I was getting ready for work the next morning, I opened the fridge to get my lunch and found this in place of one of the ramekins.

Duly noted.


  1. HAAAAAA!!!! Love that note!

    Thank you for confirming this can be done without a fancy-pantsy kitchen torch which I do not own. Must try.

  2. Mmmmmmm...drooling....moaning....dreaming...wishing....mmmmmmmm.

  3. Teary. I have in safekeeping many notes and cartoons (personally drawn with pop ups) and cards that you've given me over the years. I cherish them. And the Stout Creme Brûlée...Money! xoxo

  4. breadandputter - the broil can be your BFF, too. I simply can't justify a blow torch purchase. Yet.

    Margie - I'm going to call you Myrtle from now on.

    Fay/Mom - Aww. I need to come over and go through the old family photos and school file someday. I'm impressed with your circumflex and accent aigu in "brulee", too. Fancy iPad lady <3

  5. OOOOH, looks DELISH. I think I'll try it with my favorite, double chocolate stout!

  6. Ruby - thanks for visiting! Double chocolate stout would work SO well in this.

  7. Hahahahaha I'm a written notes kind of person too.

    "Bake for 65-70 minutes or until the centers are no longer jigglypuffs."

    I can totally dig your instructions. Maybe I can bake something that isn't out of box someday. Maybe.

  8. for real, you are too cute.

    i am also a note & letter writer, complete with pretty cursive.

    j'adore today's post.

  9. The Shanner - the great thing about this recipe is that, with the exception of the beer, all of the ingredients come straight from a box or carton. So you're in luck!

    Angry Asian - merci ma cherie. I went for years without seeing my auntie (who I was middle named after) but ever since I got back from Kauai, I've been sending her a card every month. I love sealing that envelope and dropping it in the mail slot knowing that she'll have it in her hands within a week.

  10. I made a stout cake for my boyfriend's homecoming from study abroad in London, typical I know. It was AMAZING. I would easily make it again if it were so complicated, I would love to try your custard!

  11. I go on vacation in 2 weeks, I am cooking a fancy dinner for 12 people...I think I found dessert.

  12. Love the communication via notes and the thought of stout creme brulee.

  13. I am so excited to try this!!! Do you think it would work with Fat Tire? We just so happen to have some in the fridge now, and then I wouldn't have to go to the store...

    P.S. wouldn't it be so cool to have one of the mini dragons they get before the task in Goblet of Fire?! Best kitchen gadget ever!

  14. wishandhope - Not typical. Festive ;) Booziness aside, adding stout to cake makes it SO moist. Makes you want to add beer to everything you bake. Thanks for stopping by :D

    Jennifurla - you are going to be 12 people's favorite person on the planet.

    Kristen - thanks. Maybe a Storm King brulee next time?

    Jessi - I bet Fat Fire would work well in a traditional vanilla creme brulee and 1554 (should your fridge acquire any soon) would be great in this version. P.S. A mini Norwegian Ridgeback in my stocking this year, plzkthnxsanta.

  15. This is a BRILLIANT idea! My brother joked a while ago aboout beer desserts... I didn't really know it was possible! I'll have to make this for him sometime :)

  16. Aww, my mom still sends me cards for each holiday too! I love it. I actually have never heard of stout creme brulee. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Hannah - Oh yes. This will prove him wrong :D

    The Price Report - isn't it the best? I love finding a card stuffed in between all the junk mail, bills and grocery inserts.

  18. I just discovered your blog and love it! My neighbors, even when they are in the same room or on the porch together, use their ipads to communicate with eachother. Wierd. The note idea is SO much cooler!

  19. I just left Lily a post-it message this morning. And she can't even read.

    OK, so you know the nasty broilers that are in the bottom of the oven and they have that slide-in broiler pan? That's what I have for a broiler. Think I could use that to do creme brulee? You know, after I cleaned the five years worth of dust bunnies out of it, since I've never used it before.

  20. Little Yellow Kitchen - hi Lauren! Thanks for stopping by :D I'm seriously drooling over here over those krispy chocolate coconut cookies...holy moly.

    Debbie - hahaha...it's the sticky, yellow thought that counts. And as far as your broiler situation goes, I would just save the time and Easy Off and invest in a blowtorch. Or a really fancy lighter.

  21. You're absolutely right. I don't need to clean it. I knew I liked you for a reason. My broiler will continue to be neglected.

  22. SO thrilled to have found your blog and this recipe. While drinking stout and eating Earl Grey Crème Brûlée, it seems only fitting to seek out my next boozy, er um, desserty fix. Can't wait to try this.

  23. We have a Victoria B.C brewing company who makes a lovely chocolate porter that I used instead of the stout, and it turned out wonderfully!
    Thank you for the great and easy to follow recipe!

  24. I have made a lot of different Creme Brulees and this looks like the perfect one for my upcoming St Patty's party. Can't wait to try!
    (Think I will steal that double-choc Stout idea too)

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