Butterscotch Pudding with Chocolate Stout-Poached Pears and Chantilly Cream
Sweet Melissa Patisserie - Brooklyn, NY
When planning for a dinner at the Beard House, Jim Munson of Brooklyn Brewery suggested pairing chocolate ale with the dessert. That’s when baker Melissa Murphy came up with the unusual idea of poaching pears in the beer instead. “Normally, I would never poach pears in beer, but it fit the theme of the dinner,” Murphy said. “And as it turned out, it was great.” Our recipe tester adapted her recipe slightly by reducing the poaching liquid to a syrup, thus intensifying the pear and chocolate stout flavors.
- 7 egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar (divided)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Two 12-ounce bottles Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (see notes)
- 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 Bosc pears, firm but ripe
- Whipped cream and fresh mint leaves to garnish
To prepare the butterscotch pudding, preheat the oven to 300ºF. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth; set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan with a heavy bottom, combine the cream, milk, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar. Place over medium-high heat, stirring often, to scald (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and set aside.
In another heavy-bottom saucepan big enough to hold the scalded cream mixture, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar with the water. Cook the mixture over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn the heat to high and bring the syrup to a boil. As soon as the mixture turns dark amber (the color of an old penny), remove the caramelized sugar from the heat, then slowly and carefully pour the scalded cream mixture into it, stirring as you pour. Be careful, as the cream-sugar mixture will bubble up as you combine them.
In a slow, steady stream, gently pour the combined mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to avoid curdling the yolks. Whisk in the vanilla and the salt. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Skim off any air bubbles that have formed and ladle the mixture into six 8-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins into a shallow roasting pan and fill the pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil.
Bake the puddings in the preheated oven until just set. Begin to check after 45 minutes. When the puddings are done, remove the pan from oven and allow the ramekins to cool to room temperature in the water. Refrigerate uncovered until cold.
To prepare the pears, in a medium-sized saucepan, combine all the ingredients but the pears over medium heat. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, cut the pears in half, peel, and core. Put the pears halves in the simmering poaching liquid, making sure they are completely submerged. Poach for 15 minutes or until they are knife tender. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in the liquid. When cool, remove the pears and refrigerate until ready to use. Meanwhile, reduce the remaining liquid until thick and syrupy, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
To assemble, slice the pears from the base not quite through the top. Put a dollop of whipped cream on each of the puddings; fan the pear out, leaning it against the cream. Drizzle the syrup over the pears and cream, and garnish with mint.
Recipe notes: Brooklyn Brewery produces this beer in the fall. You can find it on the shelves of gourmet grocery stores until winter. At other times of the year, substitute only dark porter or stout.