This past weekend I spent Saturday locked in a head-to-head battle for culinary glory with one of NYC’s top competitive chefs, Mr. Theo Peck of The Food Experiments. And guess what? I tied him. Not too shabby, I must say. If you are going to tie with someone, than Theo would be the guy. He’s creative, quick on his feet, and loads of fun to smack talk with.
We had a great time dishing out our tastiest Brooklyn Beer themed recipes at my local Central Market. In fact, I have a whole slideshow of photos here to prove it. The guys from Brooklyn Brewery documented the whole thing, click-click-clicking away, capturing the feirce competive nature of the day. I met a lot of friendly people, many of which really enjoyed my recipe, Blackberry Beer Flan, and I promised to share the recipe with them here on my blog. So, here it is!
Blackberry Beer Flan is made with Brooklyn Lager in the custard and the caramel. The bitterness of the beer tastes really wonderful against the tart, sweet nip of the fresh blackberry sauce. I used biscuit cutters to cut out individual portions, then topped them with fresh berries. This presentation is really easy, but looks awfully impressive, making it a great way to end a dinner party, or steal all the thunder at a potluck dessert table.
Because this flan includes beer, it would be a great dessert for Saint Patrick’s Day. If you’ve never made flan, it’s easier than you think. The slow cooking process makes it very hard to mess up. The scariest part is probably making the caramel, but not to worry, I’ll explain it all in the directions.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup Brooklyn Lager
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
- 1 cup Brooklyn Lager
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 7 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 ounces fresh blackberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- the zest of 1 lime
Combine 1/3 cup Brooklyn Lager and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Start cooking on low, and keep it there until the sugar dissolves. After that, switch to high heat, and use a silicone spatula or wire whisk to keep the syrup moving. Stir continually, but not too quicklty until the syrup becomes a caramel color (five – ten minutes). While the sugar cooks it will foam up like crazy, so make sure to use a large saucepan, not a small one. After the beer foams, it will eventually seize up a little and become harder to stir. Tht means that you are getting close to the end. Soon after it thickens it will suddenly start to thin and change in color. This is a long process, so just keep stirring and hang in there. It will become caramel eventually, I promise.
Quickly transfer the caramel to a pyrex/heatproof pie pan. Move the container around so that the caramel coats the inside of the dish entirely. This can be a little dangerous, so you might want to use oven mitts to keep your hands safe.
Now it’s time to make the custard! Put the beer in a sauce pan, and boil over high heat until it has reduced by about 50%. Combine the reduced beer with the cream, evaporated milk, and salt. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk the egg and sugar mixture together, then pour it through a fine mesh strainer. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Once combined, pour the custard mixtue into the caramel coated dish.
Place the dish into a deep pan, and fill the pan with water until it reaches halfway up the dish. It may be easier to do this all while the pans are on the oven rack, but that’s up to you. Just be very careful while moving the pan, as you don’t want to get any water into the flan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 – 60 minutes, until it has just set. Remove the pan from the oven, VERY CAREFULLY and allow it to cool. When the pan and water cool enough to be handled, remove the flan from the water and onto the countertop. When it reaches room temperature transfer it to the fridge. Chill in the refridgerator for at least two hours before serving.
Now make the sauce. Combine 1/4 cup of water, 12 ounces of blackberries, 1/3 cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice in a small saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer, and remove lid. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then mash the berries with a potato masher, or the back of a spoon. Add zest, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Push the mixture through a fine, mesh strainer, and cool. Chill until serving.
When you are ready to serve the flan, slip a knife around the edges to separate it from the dish. Turn the dish upside down, and shake gently to remove it. Drizzle the blackberry sauce over the flan when it’s time to serve. A little whipped cream is nice too.