Foodie Jousting: Orange, Black and Sugar~

26 10 2009

Nov_09_miseI love participating in the Royal Foodie Joust…it always pushes my creativity out of the box a little.  When I read the ingredients selected by Kat of A Good Appetite, I had to laugh.  It’s Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Orange is abundant…Halloween is upon us so Black is joining in…and sugar.  Hmmm.  Orange…pumpkin, butternut, acorn…there are a number of orange fleshed squash.  Black as in dark beer, or cola if you prefer.   Hmmhmmmm…and sugar…  What to do with those ingredients… Then, I remembered the bottle of Double Chocolate Stout I’d stashed away knowing it would work into something sometime, and I’d wish I’d bought it. Today, would have been that day.   After a few weeks of thought processing, I came to a point of needing a dessert for a birthday dinner, and time was running out.  Why not?  She did say she wanted me to cook for her…  The worst case scenario would be to pull out ice cream.  So the joust begins…butternut squash, double chocolate stout beer and sugar to start with…and with any luck at the other end we’ll have a Chocolate Stout Butternut Brulee.

Nov_09_sqshIt sure starts out orange and black!

Double Chocolate Stout Butternut Brulee~

1 1/2 cups butternut squash chunks
1 1/2 cups Double Chocolate Stout

Simmer the squash with a dash of cinnamon until the squash in tender and the stout has evaporated. Measure 1/2 cup cooked squash pulp.

Squash pulp
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
grating of fresh nutmeg

Mix together in a blender until smooth. Pour into ramekins and bake in a water bath at 325º until custards test done.  Sprinkle cooled custards with just enough sugar to cover the surface of the custard and torch until sugar liquefies and caramelizes.

Tasting Notes~
When we tasted the custard mixture before we baked it and it tasted like a chocolate malt, we knew we were headed the right direction.  The  crackly caramel crust provided a nice little crunch to go with the creamy texture of the custard.  The chocolate was just right…not too deep, but overshadowing the spices so that they were more like delicate flutes rather than fanfares of flavor.   There is no way I’d have realized I was eating any kind of squash if I hadn’t created the dish myself!  We all loved the dish, including the Birthday Girl!