Cooking With Saisons

Saison SourceThat’s right, saisons. I took on the challenge of cooking with a complex pale ale with lots of aroma and flavor. Saisons are strongly hopped without being overpowering and are semi-dry with a hint of sweetness at the end. They have a mild to moderate tartness; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor as well as have earthy yeast tones.

Saisons can range from light spice to heavy spice, yet finding the right saison to make beer butter poached lobster with saison risotto was not an easy task. It had to be delicate enough to not mask the rich flavor of the lobster yet stand up to the creaminess of the butter and risotto. With that said, I chose the Dogfish Head 61. For the finale I found a saison caramelized pineapple beer shortcake. I tried several, and my favorite was the Ommegang Hennepin. The spice in this beer was very fitting without being overpowering. I can’t wait to see what delectable beer will arrive at my door next. The question remains what will we discover next time?

Saison Caramelized Pineapple Beer Shortcakes

For the beer shortcakes:

2 cups All-purpose flour

2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Butter

1 Egg, beaten

1/2 cup Saison beer (I used Ommegang Hennepin)

For the saison caramelized pineapples:

4 cups Fresh pineapple, chopped

1/2 cup Brown sugar

1/2 cup White sugar

1 stick Butter

1 cup Saison beer (I used Ommegang Hennepin)

For the ale chantilly cream:

1 1/3 cup Heavy cream

2/3 cup Powdered sugar

2 tbsp Saison beer (I used Ommegang Hennepin)

(6-8 servings)

Preheat oven to 425. In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar; pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until it resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and the beer and process until just barely combined, about 30 seconds. Don’t over process or your shortcakes will be tough.

The shortcakes will be very moist and have more of a “drop biscuit” style than those that you roll out.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Using your hands or two spoons, place about 1/4 cup of the dough onto the parchment paper and form into a loose ball. Dough should make 6-8 shortcakes, depending on the size you want.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the shortcakes have turned a light golden brown and a tooth pick in the center comes out clean. Slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface and allow to cool.

Add all of the caramelized pineapple ingredients to a pan over high heat. Stir frequently (or continuously) until the liquid has reduced so much that the pan seems to only contain pineapples and frothy bubbles, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Just prior to serving, make the whipped cream. Add all of the ingredients to a stand mixer and beat on high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

To assemble, just split the shortcakes in half down the center, add the whipped cream, then the pineapples.

(Adapted from The Beeroness)

Heather Fassett, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant

Follow me on Twitter @abcbeerheatherf

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