Welcome to the longest day of the year, otherwise known as the official beginning of Summer in the northern hemisphere. How to celebrate? If you’re a beer lover, I have two recipes that are forgiving to your waistline, but at the same time, still provide proper homage to the gods of beer and dessert.
So, what exactly is a lambic, and what makes it so special? It begins as any other beer does, with mash and wort. What makes it unique is that the base ale is brewed only in and around Brussels in the Senne river valley, and typically contains a grist made of approximately 70% barley malt and about 30% unmalted wheat. The wort is then left to spontaneously ferment with the open air to get the characteristic sour taste. From there, it is transferred in to oak casks with fresh-picked fruit and subsequently left to ferment a second time for one to two years. A perfect example of wonderful balance would be Cherish Kriek (traditional cherry), Cherish Framboise (raspberry), or Cherish Peche (peach) – all produced by Brouwerij Van Steenberge. If you’re particularly interested in the types of yeast typically found in lambic beers (there may be 100 of them!), check here for an enlightenment.
Have you ever tried a beer float? There is no better way to enjoy the summer without Cherish Framboise than in harmony with ice cream! Make yourself a “beer float” with a small bottle and a generous scoop of real vanilla bean ice cream (or frozen yogurt, if you’re worried about getting into that Speedo or string bikini!)
Now here’s a classy dessert that will make your dinner guests think you spent all day slaving in the kitchen: Poached Pears in Cherish Kriek.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
4 Large Pears, peeled and cored (I prefer Anjou, but Bosc are wonderful as well.)
¼ Cup Sugar
1 750 ml bottle Cherish Kriek (maybe an extra bottle for you?)
½ Vanilla Bean
½ Cinnamon Stick
To poach pears : Place peeled and cored pears in a pot. Top with Cherish Kriek. Add vanilla bean, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick. Simmer pears for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the fruit is fork tender. Remove pears carefully and chill. To prepare syrup: Strain liquid and return to a medium flame and reduce to 1 cup. To serve: Place one whole poached pear, cut in half, onto dessert plate. Pour small amount of poaching liquid over pear. Top with vanilla ice cream and a little whipped cream.
Be fruity. Enjoy!