This was the inspiration for my all beer dinner. Beer caramel. Salted caramel is for the followers I say! And I’m an innovator. Okay not really… I’m more a copier and a thief of good ideas. Whatever, this one WAS my idea and I liked it.
The first batch was made with chocolate stout and initially it seemed too bitter in the aftertaste however the day after on reconsideration and retesting it had mellowed. The second batch was made with amber ale and frankly it won the race. Warm and earthy without punching you in the tastebuds. A perfect combo for the gently poached pears aka “a delivery device for that caramel sauce”. I’m quoting my sister here.
You’ll need to start the caramel a few hours before to allow it to cool down before serving. The technique can be pernickety for the caramel. Sometimes its lush and thick, other times it more like a viscous drizzle. Either result tastes delicious.
I chose blood orange and chocolate gelati because that’s what was available – you choose whatever you have available to you. My advice though is stick to Citrus and chocolate when matching with beer. My original plan was Maggie Beer’s dark chocolate & orange ice cream however on seeing the gelati made in house at Fratelli Fresh and being a huge blood orange apologist I couldn’t resist. And I was not wrong. The consensus was that the blood orange was a perfect match.
- 8 buerre bosc pears, with stems
- 2 cups of amber ale
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups thick cream i.e. just less than a tub
- 2 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, chopped into a 1cm dice
- pinch of salt
Stuff You’ll Need
- Candy thermometer
- heavy based saucepan
- large saucepan
A Few Hours Before
- Peel the pears and, if you can be bothered, core them. Leave the stems on.
Use the peeler to make sure you have a flat bottom. Well, not you, the pear.
When cooking for friends or anyone I’d like to impress, I core. When cooking for my family, stuff ’em they can deal with it.
- Into a large saucepan, sit the pears and pour the beer over.
They should be covered in beer (bar the stems).
- Add enough water so they lift from the bottom and bob about.
- Crank the heat till the liquid is boiling then reduce to medium-low to keep it at a bare simmer.
- The pears should be ready in about 20 minutes or so depending on the size of the pears.
Poke with a metal skewer or fork to make sure they are soft and give no resistance whatsoever.
- Remove 2 cups of the liquid to a heavy based saucepan and add another cup of water.
- Add the sugar to the pan.
- Keep it on low and stir till the sugar dissolves
- Get the heat up to full whack, don’t stir anymore (you don’t want sugar crystals) and let it reduce to one third of it’s volume.
You want a syrupy consistency. This will take about 10 minutes but keep a close eye on it to avoid burning.
- Get the temperature to 230 C (here’s where you’ll need the candy thermometer) then remove from the heat and add the cream.
- It should get really thick now so add the butter and salt
- Return to the heat on low and stir till combined.
- Decant to a jug and cool int the fridge for several hours before use.
- Leave the pears in the poaching liquid
When You’re Ready To Go
- Crank the heat on the pears and keep them rotating to warm through.
- Stand each pear proudly on a plate
- Drizzle caramel sauce over and around the pear.
- Serve with gelati.