Some food, some drink.
RecipeBeta: The Beer Shandy Sorbet.
Beta recipes are my own experiments that I've only tried once. Usually palatable, they often could be better with a little tweaking - So please do, and let me know what works!
Beer. It's what's for dessert. During a minor epiphany, it occurred to me that the right beer would make a fantastic sorbet when combined with the flavors of the beer cocktail known as the shandy. The shandy sorbet I concocted leverages the award-winning American Wheat beer from Lb Brewing here in Hays, USA; which I transform into a simple syrup that's then brightened with the addition of fresh lemon and lime.
All winter, the core for my ice cream machine lanquished in the freezer. Now that summer is just around the corner, I thought it best to again justify the significant chunk of space that this unitasker occupies in my chill chest. As I was perusing recipes for frozen desserts, It occurred to me that the ingredients for lemon sorbet are very much like those of a cocktail sans hooch. One of my favorite beer cocktails has gotta be a shandy. While there are numerous variants on the shandy, behind my bar we're essentially we're talking a 50/50 blend of beer to lemon lime soda with a shot of sweetened lime juice and a twist or two of citrus thrown in for good measure. If you're looking for a way to drink thru the evening without being that guy in the Facebook photos the next day, it's a great way to stretch a beer.
Anyhow, the way I got it figured, the flavors in a shandy could make for a refreshing frozen summer treat; but I'd have to pick a beer that pairs well with not only the citrus, but all that sugar as well. Lucky for me, Lb brewing at Gella's Diner is a short trip across town; and they've got an award-winning filtered wheat beer that fits the bill. So with a vision in mind, I grabbed my growler and headed down to the brewpub for a bottle of malted grain-powered refreshment.
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
The Beer Syrup
The night before -
Add 8oz of beer and 2 cups of sugar to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently and heat until the mix gets eruptively foamy (about 10 minutes from start to finish). Kill the heat, allow to cool for an hour, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
When it's time to churn -
Stir the lemon juice, lime juice, zests, and beer into your chilled beer syrup (your beer should be cold too, duh). Add the mess to your ice cream churn and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. It's likely that the finsihed product will be icy but not real set (think Icee/Slurpee/Snowball consistency). Move the results to an appropriately-sized lidded container and freeze at least 8 hours (or overnight) to hard-pack before serving.
- There's nothing fast about making homemade sorbet. While the ingredients come together quickly, there's a lot of waiting for things to cool. Expect to eat whatever you're churning after a day and a half in the most situations.
- This is my ice cream maker. It ain't fancy, but it's good for small batches (read: experimentation) and it works.
- While we're on the topic of equipment: Although a good hand juicer isn't mandatory, the Microplane really is. There's no better way to collect zest from citrus (and I reckon if you're a habitual food blog reader, you know this already).
- The crazy amounts of sugar combined with the alcohol mans your ice cream chiller is probably only gonna get you so far. Y'see, things like dissolved solids and alcohol actually work to lower the freezing point of a solution; but that's ok as ice crystals are forced to form more slowly which in turn makes for a smoother finished texture. It took me 45 minutes to churn to a consistency I was happy with, but letting the semi-finished product hard-pack in the freezer is needed lest you'd rather be sipping your sorbet thru a straw.
- So, why hold half the beer back? Well, there are some sorbet recipes that use seltzer or sparkling mineral water. As anyone that's sucked on a Slurpee knows, The carbonation helps to lighten the texture of the finished product; and anyhow it'd be just plain silly not to employ the natural carbonation of the beer in this case.
By now I can probably guess what a lot of you are thinking: "Can you taste the beer?"
Well, hell yeah you can taste the beer (isn't that the point?), but what you get is a nose of malted wheat followed by sweetness and the clean finish of the citrus. There's a bit of latitude here with the beer selection, but as long as you go with something light-bodied with little or no hops, I don't think you can screw it up; and if you can't be bothered to use craft beer, Miller High Life would be my pick. So what exactly do you pair a beer shandy sorbet with? In my mind, it's gotta be pizza or sandwiches (but especially pizza). The yeasty flavors of pizza crust or a good sandwich bread set your palate up for what's to come. And, assuming you've topped your pie or filled your sandwich with big and bold flavors, by the time dessert rolls around, you'll find that any chance of the beer flavor being overpowering in the sorbet is a silly notion.