Sunday, October 5, 2014

Porter Plus Panna Cotta = Provocative Pairing

What you're looking at is photographic evidence of a happy little beer-food pairing I came across last night.  Panna cotta is among one of my favorite desserts to make...easy, cheap, versatile, and yummy.  And I had two slightly overripe bananas that needed something doing with.  I had no idea I was about to do something incredible.

The porter is a dark, malty beer with roasty, slight coffee notes.  Typically, porters (and their stout cousins) go well with spicy foods, barbeque, some chocolate dishes, etc.

And, as it turns out, porters also go well with Roasted Banana Panna Cotta.  After adapting the original recipe from Cody Curl here, I turned out the dessert onto a plate and began digging in.  It is a very sweet dessert, and next time I will cut out the sugar altogether.  Roasting the bananas give them a roasty sweetness that completely negates the need for granulated sugar.  Curl's recipe called for a banana-flavored liqueur to bloom the gelatin in...which, what?  What does one actually use banana-flavored liqueur for?

Of course I did not have banana-flavored liqueur just sitting around...but what I did have was a smidgen of Amaretto left in its fancy glass bottle.  Works for me!

A lot of whisking and heating and blooming later, I'd poured the already thickening mixture into five ramekins and carted it off to the freezer for and hour or two of quick-cooling.  Typically, I wouldn't recommend this because sometimes the sugars freeze so fast, they crystallize and become a watery mess when it sits out at room temperature for awhile.

I was halfway through eating the dessert when I idly wondered what beverage would taste good with it.  And I remembered the six-pack of Founders in my chiller.  The rest is history, sort of.

The porter is not as roasty-toasty as a stout, but the roasted quality of the bananas REALLY brings it out in the beer.  And vice versa...the porter really accentuates the roast of the bananas, which amplifies the sweetness, and therefore, it was almost too sweet altogether (which is why I'd cut out the sugar in the recipe).

So, I'm going to do this again...with a couple of changes.  First: instead of blooming the gelatin in Amaretto, I'm going to use the porter.  And, I'll cut out the sugar.  Second: I'll make the recipe just as it is, but instead of a porter, I'll drink an IPA with it.  I'll be interested to see the dynamic of that pairing.

Until then, happy Sunday, readers!

P.S. Get my modified panna cotta recipe here.

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