Yes, you read correctly. We are baking…with beer and butternut squash. It’s fall, y’all! So it’s time to incorporate seasonal flavors like pumpkin ale and squash. I went to my favorite beer experts, the team at Market Garden Brewery to get some great ideas on how to cook with beers. Cheers!
Executive Chef, Andrew Bower, concocted something up for just this occasion. The restaurant and brew house has a Pumpkin Beer Fest coming up on October 8th, so he dreamed this dessert up for use then too. If you’ve ever cooked cheesecake, the process will be familiar to you. It’s the inventive ingredients that will surprise and delight your palate.
The full list of ingredients and measurements, plus instructions are listed below.
We started by mixing softened cream cheese with both dark brown and white sugar.
Next, Chef Bower added four eggs (and some vanilla) one at a time. Then the magic happened.
To that mixture he added 1 cup of Franklin Castle Pumpkin Ale and 15 oz. of butternut squash puree. (A lesson he learned and shared with me after experimenting with this recipe: make sure you cook and cool the beer before added it to the the rest of the ingredients to prevent bubbles or air pockets)
Finally he added a mixture of your classic pumpkin pie spices. And that’s it folks. Pretty simple, yet pretty genius.
He buttered his home made graham crackers after crumbling them to create the crust. There is also some cinnamon and brown sugar in there. (Recipe for those is also below) Then we poured the cheesecake batter in to a springform pan and placed it inside a water bath to prevent breakage in the crust.
To stick with the theme of fall’s favorite indulgences, Bower whipped up a Pumpkin Ale Caramel and a Bourbon Spiced Whipped Cream to top off this boozy autumn dessert. (Recipes for both of those are also below)
When it came out to the table and it was time to dive in, I was surprised at how subtle all the strong flavors had become. The beer and squash notes were mild and worked so well with the classic pumpkin pie spices. Chef Bower had dreamed up a deeply divine dessert!
A couple of tips about cooking with beer per my conversation with Brewmaster, Andy Tveekrem and Chef Bower:
The reason Bower chose the Franklin Castle Pumpkin Ale for this particular dish was because of the aromatic tones of the beer…allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and chamomile. Their more mild, subtle tones played well into what he was creating. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing your brews.
When incorporating beer into a dish, avoid using IPAs…too bitter. (unless you’re doing spicy food). Stick to mild/malty beers like a Scotch Ale, for their caramelized flavors. Brown Ales are a great addition to a chili. Stouts are good mussels.
Now I want to go out and but a growler of all of these to start experimenting…don’t you?? Let me know what you come up with and send along pictures of your fall flavored triumphs!
Butternut Squash Cheesecake