Monday, April 30, 2012

OMG a Recipe: Bourbon Whisky for Dessert

There's nothing wrong with a little hair o' the dog after a day in the saltmines of cubicle-land. There's also nothing wrong with a touch of sweetness at day's end. So let's put our hands together for making it a little less socially awkward to say you're having whiskey for dessert.

Who says you can't have whisky for dessert? - Photo by Wasabi Prime
We always have a bottle of Maker's Mark around the house. No, not stashed in the sock drawer or places where the late night ads ask a bunch of questions to determine if you have a problem or not. We keep it around the kitchen because it's as handy for sipping as it is for cooking. I add a little to the cheap vodka that's steeping vanilla beans for vanilla extract -- you can also draw from this to mix cocktails. I deglaze pans with a splash of it and some chicken broth, making a nice little sauce to go with some seared chicken paillards. It's a good bourbon whisky, more expensive than other brands, but the flavor is nice, and you don't need much to add its caramel, lightly smoky taste to things.

So of course I wanted to incorporate some liquor when I made a bourbon-themed dessert of ice cream and pie. Duh, who wouldn't? The pie was a basic apple pie, which I added pears in, just because I had them -- thanks, CSA box. The pie crust is, as always, Wasabi Mom's vinegar pastry crust. The filling was a basic apple pie -- about 2 or 3 pounds' worth of cored apples (and pears, in my case) sliced thin and tossed with a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of fresh nutmeg, a quarter cup of sugar, a tablespoon of flour to help absorb any excess fruit juices, and I saw this on a food show -- a dash of Angosturra bitters. A pie shop in NYC was being profiled (sorry, I can't remember their name!!) and they mentioned their use of bitters in their pie filling, to balance out the sweetness and give it a nice balance. Brilliant! I had to try it. For this pie filling, I also folded a bourbon caramel sauce with the seasoned fruit -- it added more volume and liquid to the mix, which I wasn't in love with, so I'd skip the caramel sauce in the filling or maybe drizzle the top with it. That part needs re-working, so I'm not listing details until I get something that's worth sharing, and it was likely just gilding the dessert-lily anyways, since I made ice cream to go with the pie.

There's always time for pie - Photos by Wasabi Prime
Bourbon in ice cream = Winning. I used my standby basic ice cream recipe, and added about a tablespoon or two of good maple syrup. And I mean the real stuff, not in the squeeze bottle shaped like a bad racial stereotype. I put a little less than a shot of whisky, so about an ounce, while the milk/sugar/vanilla/maple mixture was simmering. I do this before the eggs, as I want some time for the liquor to burn off. I know -- what's the point?! I don't want the alcohol content too high to where the ice cream won't set properly. I doubt a shot of booze would keep the ice cream from doing its thing, but I also like to keep the ice cream available for 21 and under. You still get the little bite of whisky, but the flavor is heightened with the extra vanilla and the maple really compliments it. On its own, it's a great alternative to a typical vanilla, but on a pie of any kind, it's ridonkulously good. And yes, that's a real word. An awesome one.

Ice cream and pie, best looking couple ever - Photos by Wasabi Prime
One of the reasons I was playing around with bourbon in desserts was because I was working on a dessert for Drink Me Magazine. I liked the combo of maple and bourbon so much, I developed a maple bourbon cheesecake for the latest issue that's out now. There's a kick of spice to it, so it's not all sweet, which I prefer with desserts. Cheesecake isn't a quickie dessert, it needs a little love, but it's worth the time and I'm particularly pleased with the brulee top. Giving it a smoky, candied sugar crunch adds a pleasant texture against the creaminess of the cheesecake. And it's fun to shout out, "Let's kick the tires and light the fires!" as you hand torch the crap out of the top of a whole dessert.

Behind the scenes on a photo shoot day - Photos by Wasabi Prime
Head to Drink Me's site to check out the whole magazine online, or if you're in the San Francisco area, printed copies are available. You can also check out their new look, they've been doing some fun things with the magazine and I look forward to developing more recipes. It's always a challenge to try and incorporate wine, beer or liquor into things on a plate, versus a glass. Hope you like the recipe, or if nothing else, the notion of mixing your drinks with food!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! Maple Bourbon Cheesecake? Are you kidding me!! I love maple syrup, I love bourbon and I love can they not be good all together? This is like the holy trinity! So in the recipe you mention that for bourbon you like to use Maker's Mark. Do you have a preference with maple syrup?

    In my experience they can vary greatly in quality and taste. The one I've come across lately that amazing...called Rouge Organic Maple Syrup. I get it online and I think its out of Quebec,Canada.


Commentary encouraged. Fresh baked cookies, super-encouraged. (hit the 'post comment' button twice, sometimes it's buggy)