Thursday, April 14, 2011

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel and Caramel Rolls

This is a story of beer for dessert and beer for breakfast...about a month ago, we were contacted by Foodbuzz to see if we'd be interested in either making a dish or pairing a dish with any of the beers from New Belgium Brewing*. Since New Belgium is probably one of Matt's favorite breweries, we jumped at the chance. Then came the hard part, deciding which beer to use and what to do with it. Our local liquor store has a great selection of New Belgium beers including their Lips of Faith series. We were both immediately drawn to the Transatlantique Kriek a spontaneously fermented lambic ale from Belgium made with Polish cherries then mixed with a New Belgium lager. It has the flavors we loved in the fruit beers while in Belgium last year, fruity but slightly sour instead of sweet. Then came the debate about what to make. Everything seemed boring or done and then Matt said, "let's make a caramel sauce" and our path was set.

I'm surprised I agreed so quickly as making caramel has always scared me and I've failed at it many times but, this was surprisingly easy. I used the basic recipe from Joy of Cooking (the bible) except replaced the water with beer. Wanting to make sure the beer and cherry flavor was quite strong in the finished caramel we reduced the beer from 1 pint, 6 ounces down to 3/4 cup. What we ended up with was a caramel sauce that had that caramelized sugar flavor as well as the maltiness of the beer, the sour tang that we loved in the beer and the fruity cherry flavor. It was amazing over some vanilla ice cream with chocolate chunks.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Sauce
1 bottle Transatlantique Kriek (1 pt 6 oz)
1 c white sugar

Pour the Kriek into a large heavy sauce pan. Let simmer until reduce until about 3/4 cup, about 1 hour.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
Pour the reduced beer out of the pan. Add in the sugar & 6 tablespoons of the reduced beer. Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir gently until the sugar is melted. Turn the heat to high & bring to a boil. Cover & let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the cover & let boil until the sides start to turn brown & the carmel darkens to a dark amber color, another minute or two. The caramel will be really foamed up so it will be hard to see the color. I stirred it down from time to time to check.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
Remove from heat. Carefully pour in the remaining beer, it will sputter & foam up. Stir until smooth. It will seem a little thin but as it cools it should thicken to about a thick honey texture.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
If it is still too thin bring to a boil for another 30 - 60 seconds. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Makes about 1 cup.

Next we wanted to do more with the sauce than just serve it over ice cream (though it certainly would have been easy to eat it all that way). I thought about a sauce for bread pudding or perhaps drizzled on a cheesecake but, once again, Matt came up with the answer, caramel rolls.
Kriek Caramel Rolls
Seriously, look at how decadent those look (especially since we had them for a Wednesday morning breakfast).

I made up the recipe for the dough after looking at lots of different versions online and in cookbooks. It comes together quickly and after rising is easy to roll out and work. Once baked it is surprisingly light which is good since it's covered in caramel. You can make these the day you plan to serve them or, even better, make them the day before then, refrigerate after the second rise. In the morning, you only need to cook them for 20 minutes and you have a special treat for breakfast. Sticky, sweet, just a touch of sour,  crunchy from the almonds...heavenly.
Kriek Caramel Rolls

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Rolls
(This recipe doesn't take a lot of hands on time but it does have two rises of an hour each.)

1 1/2 t yeast
2 T milk
2 T water
2 T sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T unsalted butter, softened
1 egg white

Put the yeast in a bowl. Mix the milk & water together in a small microwavable bowl. Heat until warm but not hot (took about 20 seconds on high in my microwave). Pour over the yeast & let sit for 5 minutes. Mix in the sugar, salt & 1 cup of flour. Add the butter & egg white. Knead in the remaining flour, a little at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover with a clean dish towel & let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

1 T unsalted butter melted
slivered almonds
1/3 c Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Sauce

Roll the dough out into a 10" x 8" rectangle on a floured board. Brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle generously with sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Roll the rectangle up so, it is 8" long (you are rolling up from the short side). Use a bread knife & cut into 6 rolls.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Spread the caramel sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish, ours is about 6" x 9". Place the rolls on top cut-side down, evenly spaced. Make sure to leave a little room because they will rise to fill the space.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Cover with a kitchen towel & let rise until doubled in size again, about an hour. At this point you can bake or cover with plastic wrap & place in the fridge to bake later.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake the rolls for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Quickly turn out of the pan onto a serving dish. Best served hot or warm.
Kriek Caramel Rolls
Makes 6 rolls (but the recipe can be easily doubled & baked in a larger pan so why not whip up a batch for Easter brunch!)

*Discloser: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program we were given a stipend from New Belgium to cover the ingredients to create this dish.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski


RJ Flamingo said...

That is so creative, Kat - I love variations on the traditional sweet roll, and that caramel sauce sounds (and looks) incredible.

Elle said...

Kathy-if I didn't love you already, this would put me over the edge! Caramel beer sauce? Oh yes! I haven't had breakfast yet and my stomach is rumbling over those rolls!

Megan said...

What a great way to use this beer. You guys are so creative. Those caramel rolls look awesome but I'm loving the picture with it on the ice cream!

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

Wow, this really looks incredible!

Carol Stevens said...

These look amazingly delicious!!

Chris and Amy said...

What an ingenious idea! Delish!

the wandering fork said...

I love kriek beer! I actually only drink sours and lambics, hehe. The recipe looks massively delicious!

Lo said...

This is an example of creative minds at work. LOVE love love the thought of a beer caramel sauce... even better since I can have it for breakfast :)

vanillasugarblog said...

that caramel is so glassy! i love that!

grace said...

oh MY goodness. ya'll do a lot of tasty savory stuff, but this is what i live for. decadence. :)

Lori said...

This rocks! What a fantastic idea. I love it. It seriously makes me want to get some of this exact beer and try your idea. Love it!

Alicia Foodycat said...

The kreik caramel sounds gorgeous! Definitely wortyh trying for Easter.

Barbara said...

That caramel sauce is so dark and thick...what a clever idea. I bet it was fabulous. And the caramel rolls? Brilliant. What do you know? Beer for breakfast!

Kate said...

Decadent...... oh those caramel rolls. I can almost smell them

Lori said...

What a great idea! I had to reduce down a beer for flavoring for some caramels I made at Christmas, but I never would have thought of making the beer the caramel itself. Both the ice cream and rolls look amazing!

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

These look amazing!

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