It was only a few years ago, while managing a country pub, that I started to like beer; before then I had found the taste too bitter. But maybe something to do with the fact that I was serving many pints of it a day and taking care of the casks in the cellar changed my mind, and I grew to appreciate the bitterness. I have not however managed to grow to like drinking stout or porter, it is just too strong for me; but, pair it with chocolate and add to to ice cream (or cake) then it is a whole different story. Used in this way the deep, rich flavour complements and accentuates the chocolate and adds a malty flavour without overpowering. It is in short, utterly delicious.
I was kindly sent a sampler box of craft beers by Honest Brew, who are an online retailer of a wide selection of craft beers from around the world, many of which are hard to find; and also do a subscription service (called honesty box) that can be tailored to suit your tastes, as well as how frequently you would like to be sent boxes and how many beers you want them to contain. The sampler box contains six different beer styles, along with a craft beer glass, a tasting guide and a £10 voucher towards your honesty box subscription. The standout beer for me was the Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA, which has a really light, refreshing, fruity/citrus flavour and is all too drinkable; it was the perfect beer to drink on a hot, sunny day at a festival (I took the cans with me to Bloodstock festival, no glass allowed) - it is definitely one that I will be buying again.
I used the Railway Porter from the box to make this chocolate porter ice cream, but you could absolutely use a stout instead of a porter (I can't tell the difference between the two anyway - can anyone inform me as to what differentiates them?). I took inspiration from David Lebovitz's Guinness milk chocolate ice cream from The Perfect Scoop (THE book to get if you want to get into making ice cream), and used milk, rather than dark chocolate in the ice cream. The milk chocolate works perfectly, because the porter has quite a rich and bitter flavour, I think that had I used dark chocolate the flavour would have been too stong, whereas the milk chocolate adds enough creaminess and sweetness to balance the bitterness from the beer. The ice cream is creamy and chocolaty, with a malty flavour and a hint of bitterness and it is incredibly more-ish. I made some porter caramel sauce to serve with it, though it really doesn't need it, and was more an excuse to use up the leftover porter - make it if you don't want to drink the leftovers!
Chocolate Porter (Or Stout) Ice Cream
Chocolate Porter Ice Cream:
- 200 g (7oz) milk chocolate chopped
- 300 ml (1 + ¼ cups) full fat milk
- 130 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 300 ml (1 + ¼ cups) double (heavy) cream
- 215 ml (¾ + ⅛ cup) porter (or stout)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Porter Caramel Sauce:
- 130 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 75 ml (¼ cup + 1tbsp) double (heavy) cream
- 115 ml (scant ½ cup) porter (or stout)
- 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
- pinch salt
- Place the chopped chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl and place a fine mesh sieve over the top; set aside.
- Whisk together the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a sauce pan and heat until just boiling. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly; pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, do not let it boil.
- Pour the custard through the sieve onto the chocolate, stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth then whisk in the cream followed by the porter and vanilla extract.
- Cover and refrigerate until completely cold then churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions; transfer to a container and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.
- To make the porter caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium-high heat. Cook, swirling the pan (don't stir) until the sugar has dissolved and turned amber coloured. Immediately remove from the heat and pour in the cream and porter.
- Return the pan to a low heat and stir until smooth then bring up to a simmer and cook for five minutes or so until it has reduced and thickened a little. stir in the butter and salt, remove from the heat, allow to cool then refrigerate until cold; the caramel will thicken further as it cools.
I was provided with some products by Honest Brew but I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.