Winter Ale Trifle

Image: Caroline Hughey

Image: Caroline Hughey

Serves 6-8. This is a bit of a twist on an old favourite, English sherry trifle, a stunning end to any meal! I couldn’t get the Framboise we used for the previous version of this trifle, so I bought a bottle of Great Lakes Winter Ale and suggested that it be used as a substitute to  make the trifle.

At a recent dinner party, all guests said it was an absolutely brlliant trifle, possibly the best ever! And then when we told them what the surprise ingredient was, they gasped! Wow. Great Lakes Winter Ale. Here’s how to make this fabulous dessert courtesy of Caroline Hughey.

Ingredients Milk sponge cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1 teaspoon butter, added to scalded milk to melt

1/2 of 750 ml bottle Great Lakes Winter Ale, about 13 ounces
Bird’s custard, prepared as per box instructions
250 to 300 ml raspberry jam, about 8.5 to 10 ounces
1/4 cup whipping cream

Method

Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and airy. Mix together dry ingredients and fold into flour. Add scalded milk and butter. Bake in a 350 ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife is clean when withdrawn.

Trifle

When sponge cake is cool to the touch, cut into 1-inch strips and place in bowl in a single layer. Cover with a thin coat of raspberry jam. Pour Great Lakes Winter Ale over sponge cake and jam. Let soak into cake for 15 minutes. Prepare a Bird’s custard and pour over cake. Cover bowl with cling film and refrigerate. Just before serving, whip cream and cover trifle with final layer of richness. Serve immediately to great applause.

Serve with:

Great Lakes Winter Ale from the Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto, Ontario, is a true winter warmer, weighing in at 6.2 percent abv, with a rich chestnut colour and a distinctive ruby hue. Handcrafted with a variety of specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger, honey and orange peel, this beer pours with a thick crop of almond coloured foam, while releasing enticing aromatics of fruit, spice, Christmas pudding notes, cedar and sappy, fresh cut wood. This fairly full bodied ale delivers notes of port, a dash of warming alcohol and a late hit of ginger dryness. The complex compendium of flavours make the Great Lakes Winter Ale a very fine brew indeed. The impressive packaging, a limited edition, stencilled 750 ml bottle with foil wrapping complete the picture. Some decent cellaring potential here.

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Serves 4 contented diners with fresh flax bread. The beauty of this soup is that you can make it as rich as you prefer, simply by adding a bit more cream. And you can also serve it hot or chilled.

Ingredients
2 cups Spinnakers Nut Brown Ale, plus 2 cups chicken stock
1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and well rinsed
1 red onion, skinned and chopped
1 large shallot, skinned and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon butter or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons 35 percent cream
Paprika as garnish

Method

Sauté chopped onion and shallot in butter with a little salt and pepper in a saucepan until beginning to colour. Break off woody ends of asparagus where it snaps easily and discard. Rinse remaining asparagus spears well, drain and chop in 1-inch lengths. Reserve the asparagus tips Add in beer, chicken stock, and asparagus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Cook the asparagus tips separately in salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a cold water bath to set colour. Remove soup from heat and place small amounts in food proce with cutting blade and process. Strain soup through strainer and return goods to saucepan with the cream and the asparagus tips. Discard pulp. Heat soup through, adjust seasonings to taste and serve individually in soup bowls with a dusting of paprika and slices of fresh flax bread.
You can also add a bit of grated medium cheddar to this asparagus soup when reheating for a flavour variation.

Beer Choices

Spinnakers Nut Brown Ale is a 5.2 percent English Style Brown Ale brewed at Spinnakers Brew Pub and Guesthouse, Victoria, BC, Canada. It’s a brownish coloured ale with sumach red tinges, having a cappuccino coloured head of foam. Complex malt mixture releases scents of chocolate, brown malt, a hint of spice, iodine, medicinal notes, mineral elements,  seaweed, and a sweet and sour combination late. Medium bodied ale. On the palate, burnt toast, malt and mineral notes co-join with a background malt sweetness. Low level of hop bitterness perceived. Middle has toast and roast with evident malt sweetness.  Medium length finish delivers an upfront mineral note, toasted flavours and more malt sweetness. Bottle conditioned , naturally carbonated ale, therefore yeast sediment in the bottle. Cask beer in a bottle. Canada’s original brewpub and microbrewery. Bottling brewpub in Victoria, BC. Canada’s oldest licensed brewpub dates from May 15, 1984. http://www.spinnakers.com

Mill Race Mild from Grand River Brewing, 3.5 percent abv, pours with a light mocha coloured foam on a reddish-brown base. This ale has a malty nose with an underlying fruitiness, a dash of spice and something that reminds of licorice but doesn’t taste like licorice? On the palate, malt is gently embraced by a soft bitterness. The middle continues with malt, fruit and a restrained bitterness. The finish has chewy malt, a brace of malt sweetness, a light background note of toast, with a continuing and persistent fruitiness and a malty mouthfeel embraced by a peppering of hop bitterness

Holsten Premium Pilsner is a 5 percent abv German-Style Pilsener brewed by the Holsten Brewery AG of Germany. It’s a sparkling light golden coloured lager with greenish undertones and  a light white head of foam. Fresh malty aromas burst forth on opening. Light in body. Malty start gives way to a reserved hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is of soft malt spliced by a light hop bitterness coursing through. Finish sees more of the same malt and hop combination, with wet grains putting in an appearance. There’s also a developing dryness on the palate. Conforms to the Reinheitsgebot of 1516, namely that it only has water, barley malt and hops in its makeup. http://www.holsten.com

Raspberry Beer Trifle

Amsterdam Framboise

Raspberry Beer Trifle

Serve 6-8. This is a bit of a twist on an old favourite, English sherry trifle, a stunning end to any meal! Serve beer in champagne flutes.

Ingredients Milk sponge cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1 teaspoon butter, added to scalded milk to melt
8 to 10 ounces  Amsterdam Framboise or Belle-Vue-Framboise
4 ounces dry sherry
Bird’s custard, prepared as per box instructions
1/4 cup whipping cream

Method

Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and airy. Mix together dry ingredients and fold into flour. Add scalded milk and butter. Bake in a 350 ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife is clean when withdrawn.

Trifle

When sponge cake is cool to the touch, cut into 1-inch strips and place in bowl in a single layer. Cover with a thin coat of raspberry jam. Pour 1 glass of dry sherry and 2 wine glasses of Belle-Vue-Framboise over sponge cake and jam. Let soak into cake for 15 minutes. Prepare a Bird’s custard and pour over cake. Cover bowl with cling film and refrigerate. Just before serving, whip cream and cover trifle with final layer of richness. Serve immediately to great applause.

Serve with your choice of:

Amsterdam Framboise is a 6.5 percent abv fruit beer brewed by the Amsterdam Brewing Company, Toronto, Ontario. This rich ruby, blood red coloured ale is surmounted by a fine pink foam of a fine bubble. Envigoratingly fresh fruity, raspberry nose exhibits the sweetness and succulence of just-picked ripe fruit. On the palate, lightly spritzy, fruity, with a developing dryness from both Perle hops and the raspberries. The finish is of a medium length with a distinct tartness and crispness from the fruit. Amsterdam Framboise is made with 400 kilos of frozen raspberries, which are added in the secondary of every 20 hectolitre batch. The beer is 5.5 percent abv before the addition of the fruit. The beer spends 10 to 14 days in primary and a further 14 days in secondary. The fruity nose of this Framboise leads one to believe this beer would be fairly sweetish but in reality it’s very dry. Amsterdam was once a Toronto, Ontario, brewpub that grew up to become a microbrewery.

Belle-Vue-Framboise is not overly sweet but the big fruit notes come trumpeting alongside a dryness that make this beer such a tempting treat on its own.  Lambic is made from malted barley, unmalted wheat, water and year-old hops, with a spontaneous fermentation. The lambic is matured in oak port barrels for two to three years and then blended to ensure consistency in the end product. Ripened raspberries are then added to a lambic, creating a raspberry lambic. Belle-Vue Framboise is then aged further to enhance and balance flavors. Belle-Vue-Framboise is brewed in Belgium to a strength of 5.2 percent abv.