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Posts Tagged ‘kriek

Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake

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As the weather becomes colder, the winter warmers are starting to make their appearance. This means it will be easier to find Russian Imperial Stout for this recipe, which is not commonly made by B.C. breweries who package their beer. Suitable beers for this cheescake are Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, Moylan’s Ryan O’Sullivan’s Imperial Stout, North Coast Old Rasputin, and Phillips The Hammer. If you can’t find any of these at a BC government liquor store, try a private one. Add a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream to any of these, and you have a delicious beer float (I kid you not!).

Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake served with preserved Bing cherries and cherry syrup that was served with a Lindemans Kriek.

Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake served with preserved Bing cherries and cherry syrup that was served with a Lindemans Kriek.

Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs *
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 kg (4 x 250g pkgs Philadelphia) cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
454g (1 lb) dark chocolate melted in a double boiler *
473ml (1 pint) Russian Imperial Stout (room temperature, degassed) *
4 large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325°F (or 300°F if using a dark pan). Grease the sides of 9″ spring form pan and cover bottom with wax paper. Mix crumbs, 2 tbsp sugar, and melted butter in a bowl until evenly blended; press firmly onto the bottom of the pan with a fork.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then add remaining ingredients (except eggs) at medium speed until well blended. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing each until just blended. Pour batter over crust.

Bake 55-60 minutes or until centre is almost set. Loosen cake from side of pan by running a paring knife around the inside edge. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before removing side of pan. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Michel Brown’s Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake by Fred Eckhardt in Northwest Brewing News, Feb/Mar 2008, Volume 7 Number 1, pg. 29.

* NOTE: You can use Oreo cookie crumbs for the chocolate graham crumbs. I also thought there was way too much sugar for the batter (American recipe), so I halved it, using only 1/2 cup. With the beer/chocolate combination I used, this amount of sugar was perfect. You may be able to get away with using even less, depending on the chocolate and beer you use; taste the batter before pouring it into the pan to see if you need to add more sugar. I would recommend a good quality chocolate with at least 60% cacao. I used an organic dark German chocolate found at Choices Markets; Belgian Callebaut would also be a good bet.

To degas the beer, a trick I learned from a brewer is to pour the pint of beer into a small container or pitcher, then pour it back and forth into another until the head dies down and the beer goes flat.

To serve the cheesecake, berries are an excellent complement — raspberries, strawberries, cherries, black currants. When plating the cake, you could crown the slice with a dollop of whipped cream topped with a berry and mint leaf, then surround the cheesecake with a coulis made from the same fruit. This is a classic Valentine’s dessert — sinfully rich chocolate and the fruit providing the red colour of love.

To pair a beer with the dessert, use either the beer used in the cake or a fruit lambic that is the same as the fruit you used to complete the presentation. If you want to impress dinner guests, stout should be served at cellar temperature in a cognac snifter and the lambic, like champagne, chilled in a flute.

Of Beer and Cheese

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Two events I recently attended have shown an increased interest in beer & cheese pairing — FigMint’s B.C. Day “Beer on the Wood” and the Vancouver Beer Meetup/CAMRA lambic & cheese tasting at the Alibi Room. Cheese for both events was supplied by Mount Pleasant Cheese, who are becoming noticeably more beer savvy with suggested beer pairings on the tags of some of their cheeses in their Cambie Street shop.

Figmint’s first “Beer on the Wood” was lightly attended. However, they have since been gaining in popularity. This time it was oversold and, thankfully, the additional people were accommodated in the lounge, rather than having only seats at the bar. Highlighting the artisan producers of B.C., the following cheeses were paired with organic farmhouse ales supplied by zero waste brewery, Crannóg:

  • Organic Extra Aged Gouda from Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm, Salmon Arm
      – Beyond the Pale Ale
  • Castle Blue from The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz
      – Hell’s Kitchen
  • Farm House Brie from The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz
      – Back Hand of God Stout
  • Farm House Natural Chèvre from The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz
      – Pooka Cherry Ale

The first three ales are regularly brewed and available all year round, while the Pooka Cherry Ale is a seasonal beer made with 200 lbs. of  Crannóg’s own Bing cherries. (After the tasting, I blended 1/3 of a glass of the latter with 2/3 Back Hand of God to make a delicious Cherry Stout. As Crannóg are a draught only brewery, hopefully you can find the two together somewhere to make your own blend. Otherwise, order two party pigs.)

Chef Lee Humphries created an innovative pairing plate that not only included the common cheese, fruit, and some condiments with bread, but even some hors d-oeuvres to match both the cheese and the beer. For example, with the Farm House Castle Blue, he made a small skewer of pork sausage wrapped in tomato crêpe. For the Farm House Natural Chèvre & Pooka Cherry, it was a cherry soda & vanilla ice cream float and two fresh, ripe cherries. Great value for $25.00.

The lambic & cheese tasting at the Alibi Room highlighted Belgian products recently imported by Bravo Beer of Squamish. Unfortunately, James Walton of Storm Brewing has been the only B.C. brewer to make this classic style of beer available commercially, but he isn’t planning on making it again. Yaletown Brewing brewmaster, Iain Hill, is working on a related beer — an Oud Bruin — that should be released in the fall. For such a challenging style and labour of love, these brewers should be given every encouragement.

Twenty-six people enjoyed a selection of gueuze, fruit lambics, and faro paired with five cheeses selected by Nigel Springthorpe and I. The beers were a mix of commercial lambics from Brouwerij De Troch and Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck, and traditional lambics from Brouwerij Oud Beersel. The cheeses were Chevry Plain from Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan, Le Douanier from Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Le Bleu Ermite from the Benedictine monks of Fromagerie de l’Abbaye SaintBenoît, Le Riopelle de l’Ile from Société coopérative agricole de l’Île aux Grues, and an extra aged Gouda from Gort’s Gouda.

The tasting began with a comparison between Vanhonsebrouck’s St. Louis Gueuze and Oud Beersel’s Oude Gueuze Vieille. The cheeses best paired with these very sour beers were the stronger-tasting Le Bleu Ermite and Le Douanier.

We then followed with a three-way comparison between De Troch Chapeau Kriek, Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille, and Vanhonsebrouck St. Louis Premium Kriek. Duck confit croquettes would have nicely paired with the aged kriek, but people were hungry and devoured them even before the first beer was paired. The commercial krieks, the Chapeau Abricot, and the St. Louis Premium Framboise that were sampled after went well with the Chevry Plain and triple-cream Le Riopelle de l’Ile.

The final beer of the evening’s tasting was the St. Louis Premium Faro. Unfortunately, the B.C. Liquor Store that the beer was ordered from did not fulfill the order for the Chapeau Faro that was planned for a comparison. Nevertheless, by that point, participants were quite satisfied and enjoyed the faro with the carmel flavour of the aged Gouda.

If you are interested in doing your own beer and cheese pairing, see Janet Fletcher’s article on the subject in the San Francisco Chronicle.