1554 Devil’s Food Cake with Black Pepper Meringue

I am not a baker. There’s something about the whole following directions thing that I just haven’t gotten the hang of. Unfortunately for me, baking doesn’t often tolerate a cook going rogue and that’s kind of what I did with this recipe.. I couldn’t stop drooling when I read it in Bon Apetit last month and had to give it a go, but also decided to add beer because, well, beer and chocolate go lovely together.

To my own disbelief, this cake turned out ah-freaking-mazing. In fact, I was so impressed with myself that I brought a piece to the Pastry Chef at my work for her to critique. Her response was excellent. As was the restaurant’s Forager who also tried a piece. Both let me know the recipe was a ‘keeper’ and so now, that’s exactly what I’m going to do – keep it – blog style.

But before we get into it, let me say that this recipe isn’t very difficult (don’t let the somewhat lengthy ingredient list fool you!), but it is sort of time consuming (less the sort of). Read through the steps, buy the ingredients in advance, and plan to make the filling the day before and have no fear that the invested time is absolutely worth the end result.

INGREDIENTS

FILLING

  • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup New Belgium 1554 (or other dark beer, or kahlua)
  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
CAKE

  • nonstick oil spray or butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 6 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. buttermilk
  • The rest of the bottle of 1554 (or other dark beer or more kahlua)
  • 1 tbs. finely ground espresso beans (optional)
  • 1 tbs. cocoa nibs (optional)
BLACK PEPPER MERINGUE
A candy thermometer would also be good to have to make the meringue.
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (fresh is a must)
STEPS
FILLING
    
  1. Pour 1 tbs. cream into a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the chocolate and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1 tbs. sugar in a medium bowl.
  4. Bring remaining cream, the beer, and 1 tbs. sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan; stir to dissolve.
  5. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture in with the egg yolks, being careful not to create scrambled eggs (which I did on accident on the first attempt…).
  6. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens slightly and your finger leaves a path when you draw a line on the back of a spoon. This will take ~3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7.  Add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture; stir to dissolve.
  8. Pour the cream mixture through a strainer (I use the same one I use for brewing) and into the large bowl with the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.
  9. Whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
  10. Add the creme fraiche.
  11. Use a stand up mixer (or your mad mixing skills) to beat until well blended.
  12. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling and chill overnight.
  13. IMPORTANT: Pour the rest of the beer into a bowl or glass and cover; leave it so that it goes flat and doesn’t affect the texture of the cake with its carbonated goodness.
CAKE
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Coat the bottom and sides of three 9″ cake pans (or one pan that you’ll use multiple times if you’re like me and lacking on the baking equipment) and line with parchment paper rounds.
  3. Whisk cocoa powder in a medium bowl; whisk in the egg and egg white.
  4. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. of lukewarm (yum) beer.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose and cake flours, baking soda, and baking powder.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl for ~2 minutes.
  7. Gradually beat cocoa mixture into butter mixture.
  8. Beat in flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions.
  9. Fold in espresso powder and/or cacao nibs if using.
  10. Divide the batter among pans; lift the pans a few inches into the air and drop on a hard surface to spread evenly in the pan and to prevent over mixing.
  11. Bake until a taster (toothpick) comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 15-17 minutes.
  12. Let cakes cool in pans set on wire racks (which I didn’t have) for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove cake from pans and let them cool completely. (I leave the parchment paper rounds on the cake to prevent the cake from sticking to a surface as I don’t have wire racks and it helps keep it intact since the cake is somewhat delicate while warm).
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKES
  1. Place 1 cake layer on a plate.
  2. Stir the filling to loosen.
  3. Spread half of the filling over cake in an even layer (and remember that frosting hides mistakes…).
  4. Place second cake layer on top of the filling.
  5. Spread remaining filling over the second layer.
  6. Place the remaining layer on top.
  7. Chill the cake while making the icing.
MERINGUE
  1. Mix 1 tbs. sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Attach a candy thermometer to a small saucepan and add remaining sugar and 1/2 cup water.
  3. Sit over medium low heat until sugar dissolves.
  4. Increase heat and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan, until the thermometer shows 240F, which will take about 10 minutes.
  5. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment; beat at medium speed until frothy.
  6. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining sugar and salt.
  7. Gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites while the mixer is on medium-high.
  8. Continue beating the egg whites until they are stiff and cool; this will take around 20 minutes.
  9. Add the pepper.
  10. Immediately spoon onto the cake. Smooth over top and sides; swirl decoratively (and because it’s easier than trying to make the topping look clean and smooth).
  11. If you have a blow torch, torch away.
    
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Skirt Steak Marinated in Beer with Polenta & Roasted Red Pepper

This dish is stupid easy, relatively cheap, and gosh darn delicious – all of which are perfect for a midweek meal. From start to finish it’ll take less than 45 minutes (if you don’t count the marinating time). Try to wake up and put the marinade together before you leave for work. It’ll take around 5 minutes and that’s calculated in I-haven’t-had-a-coffee-yet time. Cuts of meat like the flank steak need those extra minutes to live up to their full potential. Not a morning person? Put the marinade together the night before.

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

  • 2-4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard (optional)
  • 8 ounces of a darker beer, we used a doppelbock because it’s what was in the fridge. Medium bodied, darker beers work best in this dish. Think dark lager, porter, or brown ale.
  • Splash of  Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • an herb – we used dried rosemary, but fresh is almost always better
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
STEAK!
  • 2 lbs. of flank, hanger, or skirt steak
POLENTA
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • lots of parmesan cheese, 1/2 to 1 cup
ROASTED RED PEPPER SALAD
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
SAUCE
  • 4 ounces of the beer you used in the marinade
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • rosemary or thyme
  • honey
  • salt & pepper
STEPS
MARINADE

  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients until well combined.
  2. Pour the marinade into a large bag or in a shallow dish with deep sides.
  3. Place the steak in the marinade
  4.  Seal the bag or cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 6 hours to 1 day, turning occasionally.
  5. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature.
ROASTED RED PEPPER
  1. Begin roasting the red pepper over a burner and turn until the skin is blackened and delicious.
  2. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for ~10 minutes. The steam will cause the skin to loosen which will make the pepper easier to peel.
  3. Remove the charred skin from the pepper. I find this is easiest to do with slightly wet hands. Do not rinse the pepper, though!
  4. Slice the red pepper into ribbons.
POLENTA
I start the polenta while the pepper is roasting
  1. While the pepper is resting, bring the salt and water for the polenta to a boil in a large, deep pan. Once the water comes to a boil, gradually stir in the polenta.
  2. Stir frequently for ~20 minutes until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  3. Stir the butter and cheese into the polenta and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a lid on the polenta and set aside.
Grab a helper if needed!

STEAK

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan to cook the steaks. My favorite is cast iron.
  2. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a very small amount of oil (not olive) in the pan.
  4. Place the steaks in the pan when the oil sizzles if you place the corner of the meat in.
  5. Do not move the steak until it needs to be flipped. Don’t disrupt the browning! This will take about 5 minutes per side.
  6. They are ready when a thermometer registers 125-130F for medium rare. Cook a little longer if you prefer your steak to be medium. Try not to cook to well done — skirt steaks don’t handle overcooking as well as other cuts of meat.
  7. Allow to rest!
  8. Cut the steak into thin slices against the meat grain.
SAUCE
  1. While the meat rests, add 4 ounces of beer and 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces by half.
  3. Turn off heat and add a spoonful of honey.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the herbs.
  6. Taste! Depending on the beer and your preferences, it may need additional seasoning, acidity, or sweetness.
SALAD
  1. Dress the arugula with salt & pepper and oil & lemon juice.
  2. Toss with the red pepper slices.
Plate it up and enjoy!

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Witte French Toast

Breakfast is underrated. And when it comes to pairing beer with food, well, it’s all too often overlooked. Skip the bloody mary or mimosa at next Sunday’s brunch and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about..

This last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming craving for french toast. I’ve been meaning to make the Sunday Mornin’ Haystack French Toast from The Best of American Beer & Food by Lucy Saunders, so that’s exactly what happened. This recipe is based entirely on hers, with a couple of minor tweaks (I’m not the most creative before coffee…)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces bottle-conditioned wheat ale (I used a 22 ounce bottle of Ommegang Witte)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk + a fair splash of Half & Half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking spice (I use this instead of cinnamon because the allspice & ginger go well with the Witte)
  • 6 thicker slices of a white bread (challah is my favorite for french toast, but this recipe works better with a fresh baked white bread; stay away from the thing sliced mass produced stuff)
  • Maple syrup
  • Garnish – orange slices (even better when caramelized), bananas, blueberries, powdered sugar, etc. I’m a fan of supreming orange slices because it compliments most wheat beers quite well.
Steps
  1. Allow the beer to sit out overnight at room temperature so that the yeast settles at the bottom of the bottle. Carefully pour all but the last 3 ounces of the beer into a glass or two. What remains in the bottle should be yeasty & opaque.
  2. Combine the eggs, yeasty ale, milks, baking spice, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk until well blended and aerated with lots of bubbles.
  4. Place bread slices in a large pan with a deep rim; cover with the egg mixture.
  5. Turn over the bread to coat evenly and allow to soak until almost all of the egg mixture is absorbed.
  6. Set oven to “warm” or the lowest heat setting.
  7. Prepare a greased griddle or large skillet with a pat of butter (or a few sprays of oil) and place over medium heat.
  8. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
  9. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven to keep warm while preparing the remaining pieces of bread.
  10. Place the french toast on a plate, top with maple syrup, and your choice of fruit and/or powdered sugar.
  11. Serve with a Belgian Wheat Beer or an American Pale Wheat Ale, something that’s citrus forward and unfiltered.

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The WHOLE Hog

A tweet on Friday from Kocurek Family Charcuterie, @KFAcharcuterie, read: Pig butchery class this weekend on for just a donation. location to be giving out two hours before demo…be in south austin…space limited

Pig butchering class? Yes, please! I cleared my night and anxiously awaited the location. It was announced at 5:30pm – a small kitchen in one hour. Traffic was at its worst, the first UT home game of the season, and I live on the other side of town. How could I forget? We fought traffic and arrived at 6:30pm on the nose. Once there we were promptly greeted by the fairly large fellow pictured below and a solid handshake from the man who raised him, Lawrence Kocurek.

Awhile back I posted about the Whole Hog Class with Dai Due. This was nothing like that. This was last minute, minimally planned, and free of any charge. This was a very small class for people who were genuinely interested taught by a man who truly wanted to share his craft. To paraphrase Lawrence, we would be butchering him anyway, so why not invite people to join?

The class consisted of Lawrence, another Kacurek Family Charcuterie employee, and five other people (myself included). The evening began with no introductions, they were unnecessary; instead, it began with removing the head from a 256 pound pig and not one person batted an eye.

Someone asked a question about rendering fat for lard. Lawrence stopped to show us the line between the soft and hard fat. He waited until we each had a chance to see for ourselves. He talked about modern breeds and how most don’t have much fat at all, how it has been bred out in favor of leaner meats. He took the time to explain why the pig they have for breeding is an old world breed, how they want to keep some of that fat on their animals. When he talked about his pigs his eyes lit up. These pigs aren’t just pigs that are raised somewhere for production – they are his pigs – his family – his livelihood – and it showed.

From that point forward the class went quickly. Lawrence explained each cut, each section of the pig, and what each part would be used for. Not one piece would go to waste. Questions were welcomed and he would stop to answer each one in detail.

We learned about processing plants, hanging weight versus regular weight, how to tell if the kidneys are healthy, and more. Topics varied, but no discussion strayed far from the noble beast at hand.

What began as an incredibly large animal was now nothing more than bones.

What surprised me the most was size of the hog’s frame. The bone structure supports 300+ pounds, but is tiny in comparison to the hog’s overall size.

An hour and a half later and it was over. There were no hand-out’s, no suggested reading material. The class was impromptu and somehow it worked. Lawrence shared his craft in a setting best described as casual; the five of us watched with wide eyes and learned everything we wanted to know because our questions helped guide the night and he had an answer to every one. It was an experience I will not soon forget.

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Southern California – Mini Brewery Tour

San Diego is my home. I regularly kick myself for taking the city for granted when I lived there. In my defense, I left when I was 18, but that really isn’t an excuse when it comes just how marvelous of a place it really is.

And then there’s the beer. Good gosh, there’s the beer. I could rave for hours about how amazing it is. Hell, you’ve probably heard that rave countless times. I don’t need to repeat it, so I won’t. Instead, this post is going to be relatively quick because my visit was quick (and I was too distracted to remember to take many pictures…) and I’ll try not to stray from the breweries visited and an overview of beers tasted that stood out.

First on the list: Alpine Beer Company

I grew up in Alpine, CA. It’s a small town in East County San Diego which, when I lived there, had a population of barely 13,000 people. Those 13,000 people shared one grocery store and one fast food joint, Carl’s Jr. Nowadays the population has increased and there are several stop lights instead of the lonely two that existed in the days I was learning to drive.. What else do they now have? A brewery! I won’t lie, my hopes were not high when I first visited. I was expecting mediocre at best. What I found was something my wet dreams are made of: a varied selection of incredibly well crafted and balanced beers.

Their Ned Flanders Red is easily my favorite. It’s almost perfect, which is difficult to achieve with such a complex and sour beer, but they attempted it and they nailed it. Then there’s the Alpine Pale Ale.. I drink one and find myself wishing it would never end. It’s sessionable, dangerously sessionable, because it offers everything you want in a pale ale: slightly bitter, slightly hoppy, slightly malty, and a finish that’s clean and crisp and heaven sent.

Is the brewery worth the 45 minute drive from the Coast? For the food.. absolutely not. For the beer? Absolutely.

Second stop was AleSmith Brewing Company.

It’s quietly nestled in the design district in Mira Mesa, CA between furniture distribution centers and light fixture show rooms. The crowd picked up around 5pm and was predominately men in business casual who were all in good cheer as they drank away the previous 8 hours. My favorite thing about AleSmith: $1 tasters and their chipper service never wavered even when I bombarded them with questions and pictures.

Was their selection really that great, though? For a brewery without a pub, it really was. All of their year-round beers were on tap, as well as their current seasonal releases and a few ‘you won’t find it anywhere else anymore’ beers such as the Barrel Aged 2006 Decadence, an Imperial Red Ale that was a tangy, boozy, lush of a beer that stood out against the rest. The rest, however, were quite good. I have yet to meet an AleSmith beer that I don’t like.

The third stop: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

There was no missing this joint, even though it was hidden in a business park not far from AleSmith. The crowd, while slightly older, was exponentially louder. People spilled from the tasting room onto the front entry, despite the rule against it. No one seemed to mind. Their walls were lined with ribbons, memorabilia, and signs. While ordering a pint, it’s easy to be distracted by the brewery that lies directly behind the bar showing you exactly where the beer you’re drinking comes from.

Their selection consisted primarily of popular and easily marketed styles (IPA, Wheat, Amber..)

My favorite was the Habanero Sculpin IPA. Rarely do chiles provide more than heat when used in a beer. In this case, the heat from the habanero was certainly there, but it was much more subdued than one would expect from a pepper with such potency. Instead, the heat lingered in the background and added another layer to an already delicious beer.

Would I go back? Probably, but it’s not at the top of my list. It’s easier to pick up a bottle or two of their best from BevMo! or just about any other well stocked corner store in San Diego County.

And last, but certainly not least: The Bruery.

I don’t even know where to start when it comes to this one. This brewery caused me to regress: little kid in a candy store after opening Christmas presents and there’s a rainbow overhead and a unicorn is my best friend style. My expectations were sky high when I arrived, but there was no concern that they may not meet those expectations. The beer later validated just that; it lives up to the hype. I was lucky enough to visit on Sour Sunday with two friends. We tried every beer, with the exception of two (Saison Rue and Hottenroth).

I don’t even know that I can choose a favorite. They were all pretty extraordinary. My top three? The Marron Acidifie was out of this world in an I can die happy knowing I’ve tried this beer kind of way. The Barrel Aged Cuir was thick and strong and full of bourbon notes that made me wish I could hibernate in a bottle all winter. And the Kriek, oh the Kriek, it made my lips pucker and want to kiss the bartender to say thank you for providing me with such amazing brews.

I didn’t even touch on the amazing beer bars! Maybe next time I’ll remember to take more photographs & notes.. Beer and good company can be entirely too distracting in the best possible way.

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Mac and Cheese and Beer with Chiles

There’s beer & cheese soup and there’s beer & cheese dip, but seldom does one hear about mac & cheese & beer unless at a gastropub. Why is this?? Beer and cheese go beautifully together; it makes sense to combine them in this classic American dish.

This is where the fun began. What beer to use?? Most recipes for beer & cheese soup or beer & cheese dip don’t specify what type of beer to use or they suggest a light lager. If you’re going to cook with beer – let the beer shine! Use something with flavor that will truly compliment the dish. That being said, I’ve definitely had my share of cooking with beer mishaps (cooking potatoes in an IPA is not a good idea) and I didn’t want to mess this one up, so I made two different types: hatch chile & IPA and chipotle & doppelbock. The results? Both were outrageously good, but also very different from each other. The IPA version really stepped up the traditional recipe, whereas the doppelbock version is an adventure for your tastebuds in the best possible way.

If you’re interested making both versions side by side like I did – have 2 pans going and halve the ingredient amounts below. The cheeses are also very interchangeable, so use what you enjoy, but use multiple types of cheese if you can. If I’ve learned anything from making an outrageous amount of mac n cheese over the years, it’s this: single cheese versions aren’t nearly as good as their multiple cheese counterparts.

IPA & Hatch Chile ingredients

  • 1 lb dried pasta (my favorite is cavatappi)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted hatch chiles (or roasted anaheim peppers)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of an IPA (I prefer a less bitter & less hop forward IPA like the 471 for most cooking)
  • 1/2 cup butter + 3 tbs
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces monterey jack
  • 4 ounces gruyere
  • 8 ounces cheddar
  • salt & pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
Doppelbock & Chipotle ingredients
  • 1 lb dried pasta
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onions
  • 2 – 4 chipotle peppers + 1 tbs of adobo
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup doppelbock
  • 1/2 cup butter + 3 tbs
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces monterey jack
  • 8 ounces cheddar
  • salt & pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
Steps
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  5. Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to contain the pasta & additional ingredients.
  6. Saute the onions in the melted butter until soft, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Whisk in the 4 tbs of flour.
  8. Continue to cook the flour/butter/onion mixture until it turns a light brown & begins to foam. This should take between 2 & 3 minutes, but watch it carefully & whisk frequently to prevent burning.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium low.
  10. If cooking the doppelbock version – add the tomato sauce & 1 tbs adobo and cook an additional minute.
  11. Slowly pour the milk & beer into the pan while whisking constantly.
  12. Whisk in any spices (garlic, mustard powder, salt, pepper, etc.)
  13. Cook the mixture, while continuing to stir frequently, until it begins to bubble & thicken, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  14. Turn the heat to very low and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  15. Chop the chiles to the size that you want in your macaroni & cheese. I tend to cut the chipotle peppers into smaller pieces as they are substantially spicier.
  16. Add the chiles to the milk mixture.
  17. Slowly add the cheeses to the pan and mix until smooth and fully melted. Important: do not add additional liquid after this point or the cheese may loose the creamy texture.
  18. Add the noodles to the pan and carefully stir until evenly coated.
  19. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  20. Transfer the noodle & cheese mixture into the greased pan.
  21. Melt the remaining 4 tbs of butter over low heat.
  22. Pour over ~1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and mix until the breadcrumbs are well coated.
  23. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, until the cheese begins to bubble & the top turns a golden brown.
  24. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
     

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Mexican Style Pizza with Beer Braised Pork

This is part three of the chile & beer braised pork feast and easily the favorite of the three. I’ve been making a lot of pizza from scratch lately and this is easily the best one to date. The flavors and textures balanced each other in a way that made my mouth happier than words. While a 500F oven in 105F weather isn’t always the most ideal, it was well worth having to set up a fan in the kitchen and the few extra dollars spent on lowering the a/c temperature. It’s also a dish that’s best washed down with an ice cold light Mexican lager.

Preparing your own pizza dough is truly worth the extra time if you have the time to spare. It’s cheap and simple and it’s the best blank canvas, particularly on nights when your fridge is filled with leftovers and/or produce. Even if I don’t have cheese or a tomato based sauce on hand, I use this basic recipe for flatbreads.. just stretch it out a bit further and shape into a square.

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup of water + 1/4 cup more if you’re in Texas and it’s summer
  • 2 tbs olive oil
Pizza Dough Steps
  1. Mix flour, yeast, and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of water and 2 tbs olive oil.
  3. Mix until the mixture starts to form a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch – I prefer to do this in a stand up mixer. Add the extra water 1 tbs at a time if the dough is too dry. Add 1 tbs of flour at a time if the dough is too wet.
  4. Replace the paddle with the dough hook or turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Knead for a few minutes until the dough begins show a smooth surface. Round the dough by gently moving the sides beneath the middle; use your hands to guide the dough into a smooth ball.
  5. Grease a bowl and lay the dough in the bottom; cover with plastic wrap or a warm, damp towel.
  6. Place the bowl in a warm area and leave for 1-2 hours – until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  7. Leave it and prepare the rest of the pizza.

Preheat the oven to 500F
and place the rack in the center of the oven; place a pizza stone on the rack. Prepare the sauce and toppings…

Lime & Avocado Crema
:
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • juice of 1/2 a lime, plus more for garnish
  • 1 small avocado
Mash everything together then whisk until it forms a smooth mixture that you’ll be able to drizzle over the pizza.
Store in the fridge while preparing the remainder of the components, can be made 1-2 days in advance.Black Bean & Corn Relish:

  • 1 ear of fresh corn removed from the cob
  • 1/4 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • a splash of tequila
  • a squeeze of lime
  • salt & pepper to taste
Note: all of the relish ingredients are optional – create to your taste.

Gently mix all items in a small bowl to combine. Add an extra squeeze of lime juice if more acidity is needed. This is best prepared a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld together. Cover & store in the fridge.
Chile & Adobo Sauce:
  • 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid from the chile & beer braised pork
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 tbs of adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo (add more for additional smokiness and heat)

Add all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Allow to bubble away until the sauce reduces by about half, about 10 to 15 minutes; the sauce should coat the back of a spoon and resemble the consistency of pizza sauce.


Other Ingredients:

  • Cheese! We used monterey jack for melting and cotija for sprinkling once pulled from the oven
  • Some of your leftover Chile & Beer Braised Pork
  • Corn meal to coat the pizza stone
  • Cilantro to garnish and for the quintessential fresh Mexican flavor
Assembly:
  1. Shape the pizza dough. To shape, pat the dough into the desired shape (in this case , a round-ish circle, but it doesn’t have to be perfect!) From here I either a) gently pull the dough and shape by gently pressing on it with my finger tips or b) lift the dough onto both fists and move until it slowly falls on its own while rotating and moving so that the thickness of the dough remains consistent. This part takes a few tries before it becomes easier.. the trick is to let the dough rest for a few minutes after each stretch. The gluten will relax and it will be nicer to you when you try to stretch it again. If a hole forms, pinch the dough together to patch and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before shaping again.
  2. Top the dough with the chile & adobo sauce.
  3. Cover with a layer of chile & beer braised pork (or other meat).
  4. Cover with cheese.
  5. Sprinkle corn meal on the pizza stone in the oven.
  6. Carefully slide the pizza onto the pizza stone; we use the back of a sheet pan, but a pizza peel is even better.
  7. Close the oven and allow to bake for ~10 minutes. Check on the pizza around 8 minutes and again every 3 or so minutes after that to ensure the pizza does not burn.
  8. Remove from the oven when the the edges are golden brown and the cheese has melted.
  9. Now for the toppings.. drizzle with the lime & avocado crema, spoon on the black bean & corn relish, crumble on the cotija cheese, and garnish with fresh chopped (or torn) cilantro.

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Filed under Cooking with Beer, Pig Goodness, Recipes