Beer for me is a relatively new love affair. I grew up in a family of wine connoisseurs, so for quite a while that was what I associated with elegance, complexity and fine dining, where beer was a great party beverage, but not something I drank for the flavour. When the craft beer scene started booming here, it got me interested more and more in exploring different the styles and flavour profiles. But it was always been something I associated with savoury foods, never sweet.
And then I was lucky enough that a friend gave me something of a challenge. Try and incorporate a variety of beer in desserts. I have to admit there was some scepticism in the beginning, but I found that the acidity in the sour beers could easily replace citrus in desserts and the sweet, caramel notes in e.g a stout are wonderful to combine with other dark ingredients such as coffee and black tea or sweet fruits.
I wanted to make a beer tart, but decided to skip my original idea of making a sour gueuze tart and instead go for a dark and decadent beer brûlée tart with a sweet and caramelly milk stout, Let Mælk from To Øl. I made the shortcrust with a little malt flour to highlight the roasted notes in the silky milk stout custard and caramelised a thin layer of sugar on top for a crisp, slightly burnt sweetness to round it all off. I could imagine this tart being pretty sensational with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a dollop of whipped cream.
However I made a miniature version of the tart for my self that I served with chocolate sorbet, roasted bananas and a sprinkling of ground coffee beans. Man, that was good. The large tart I gave to the guys at the brewery for an after-work cake & beer celebration.
Milk stout brûlée tart
One 23cm tart
125 grams all-purpose flour
25g light malt flour
½ tsp. salt
125g cold butter, diced
1 Tbsp. ice-cold water
Mix all-purpose and malt flour with salt in a bowl and cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add ice water and mix just until the dough comes together in a soft dough. Shape into a ball, flatten into a thick disc and wrap in clingfilm. Transfer to the fridge and chill at least a couple of hours.
Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough to about 5-6mm thickness. Line a 23cm tart pan with the dough and press firmly against the pan. Trim the edges and transfer the pan to the freezer for 30 minutes.
While the tart is in the freezer prepare the filling, so it is ready to bake when the tart shell has been blind baked.
When the pastry is very cold, line the tart shell with foil, add pie weights and bake for 15 minutes at 180C. Remove weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 125C.
Milk stout filling
330ml Let Mælk or similar milk stout, reduced to 50g
45g egg yolks, about 3 yolks
75g of granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 pinch of salt
Granulated sugar for caramel layer
Stir together yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the cream and reduced Let Mælk and stir to combine. Leave for 20 minutes, so the sugar granules dissolve. When ready to bake, whisk the filling briefly, remove any froth on the surface and gently pour over the pre-baked tart shell. Baked at 125C for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and there is just a little wiggle in the middle.
Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cooled, sprinkle granulated sugar over the top in a thin, uniform layer and caramelise with a culinary torch. Serve at room temperature.