Cafe Society

Beer-infused tiramisu, with Left Hand's Wake Up Dead, a dessert for non-dessert lovers

I'm not a huge fan of dessert. Growing up in a somewhat sugar-free household, I never developed much of a sweet tooth. Moreover, I find the course itself tends to be unnecessarily lavish, like a double encore at an otherwise amazing show. Alas, there are exceptions to every rule, and tiramisu is one of them. I would never think to make the dessert myself, but in discussing the subject of sweets with a friend over a beer the other day, I realized that challenging oneself is part of what makes cooking such a fulfilling endeavor. Plus, my endearingly surly buddy was coming over to watch the game that night, and I can't resist messing with the guy. I knew he'd think it strange, my serving him dessert during halftime. But I also knew that if I made it well, he wouldn't complain, much.

I wanted to make it my own though, and the best way to do that was to bring beer into the mix. So, instead of using espresso to soak the ladyfingers, I decided to use an imperial stout. The style is high in alcohol, and I thought it would be a fun play on the recipe. I swung by Argonaut and grabbed a bomber of Lefthand's ironically named Wake Up Dead since I had yet to try it. One might think a coffee beer would be more fitting, but to be quite honest, I'm as much a fan of coffee beers as I am dessert (the exception to this rule: Breakfast Stout from Founder's in Michigan, it's seriously badass).

Come to find out, tiramisu is a blast to make. I should mention that I whipped everything by hand, which is my preferred method. It's a dish that barely resembles its ingredients, truly more than the sum of its parts, and it's very entertaining to see it come to fruition.

The dish was everything I wanted it to be and more; light and refreshing, not too sweet, with a quirky kick from the beer that perfectly mimicked the missing coffee. The stout itself however, was less impressive, but not terrible. It was a bit thin in body, and flat, but once it warmed up, its chocolate and fig notes became more evident, thankfully, and were welcome flavors alongside the not-so-sweet dessert.

Here's the recipe:

3 large eggs, separated 3/4 cup sugar 8oz mascarpone cheese 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 1 cup imperial stout (adding more if necessary) 1 large bag of ladyfingers 1 bar of quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped salt

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar together until thick, creamy and pale. 2. Beat in mascarpone until combined, and set aside in the fridge. 3. In another bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. 4. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating the whole time. 5. Continue to beat until they hold stiff peaks. 6. Beat cream in another bowl until it holds soft peaks. 7. Gently fold cream into mascarpone mixture until thoroughly combined. 8. Gently fold whites into mascarpone mixture and set aside in freezer. 9. Pour beer into a shallow bowl and soak ladyfingers in it one at a time about 4 seconds on each side. 10. Cork the beer with a reusable cork and set aside for drinking later (you can get reusable corks at most liquor stores, worth every penny). 11. Line the bottom of an 8 inch casserole dish with ladyfingers, trimming as needed so as to fit snugly. 12. Spread a third of the mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. 13. Repeat, making three layers. 14. Chill, covered for 4-6 hours. 15. Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate.

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Patrick Langlois
Contact: Patrick Langlois