A few weeks ago I began thinking about my March posts. I rarely put that much forethought into this blog (hate to break it to you), but to me March means St. Patrick's Day, which means finding a new Guinness recipe to try. Stephanie at Little Mushroom Catering mentioned a Guinness-braised apple appetiser she makes and shared her recipe. It was quick and more importantly...easy.
A number of things were flung my way between receiving Stephanie's note and yesterday--work, fun, a nasty tummy bug--so I didn't have a chance to play with what she gave me until yesterday.
I'd already decided to turn her nibblie idea into a dessert and settled for a good, old fashioned crumble with oats and cheese. Sounds great, right?
Well...I'll blame fatigue...or hunger...or the cats.
When I mixed the Guinness braising liquid, I mixed twice as much as I actually needed. Was I sensible and only use half, with hopes of using the other half for something else?
I poured it all in.
I suppose I hoped that evaporation would take care of things and reduce it all down to a thick, lovely sauce.
I suppose evaporation woudl have taken care of things and reduce it all down to a thick, lovely sauce if I didn't strew the top with crumble...and then again with cheese.
Dubliner cheese melts in the heat, obliterating any little vents the liquid could use to make a sweet, steamy escape.
Hrrm...I tried the crumble--the apples were tender, sweet with a smoky rich flavour and the cheesy topping contrasted nicely against them. The only issue was the lake of slightly thickened, apple-y and Guinness-y sauce that treated the crumble like a baking-dish wide barge.
I had no problem serving the liquide as a sauce, but there seemed to be too much for pouring purposes. Another taste and that ever so-happy-making little lightbulb went off.
I ladeled out most of the liquid into a saucepan and boiled it down by half and stirred in a couple of spoons of butter. Voila: Guinness caramel. Seriously good stuff. Seriously good when poured over the apples and the crumble.
I debated remaking this dessert in the intended fashion, and only post the "correct" recipe...but then you wouldn't have enough for the caramel. I decided to post the original recipe and the fix to the oopsie, if anyone was interested. I'll probably revisit this at some point, but I'm quite pleased with this version.
Guinness Braised Apples with Dubliner crumble and Guinness Caramel
440ml (1 can) Guinness
180g (0.75c+2Tbsp) Brown Sugar
1Tbsp Soft butter
9 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
For the Dubliner crumble topping
65g (0.33c) sugar
45g (0.33c) all purpose flour
3Tbsp rolled oats
100g (0.5c) grated Dubliner cheese
For the Caramel
Cooked Guinness braising liquid
Preheat oven to 180C/350F; butter a baking dish.
Whisk together Guinness, sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Tumble apple slices into the baking dish and pour the guinness mixture over top. Dot the top of the apples with little knobs of butter.
For the crumble:
Rub together the sugar, flour, oats, butter and a pinch of salt. Scatter over the apples and top with cheese.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the cheese melts and the top is golden.
Remove from the oven.
For the Caramel
Spoon off as much of the braising liquid as possible into a saucepan. Over medium high heat reduce the liquid by half, stirring occastionally. Stir butter into the thickenend liquide. Let cool slightly before serving.
Spoon apples and some of the crumble into a bowl and pour some caramel over top. Serve with ice cream or pouring cream, if you wish.
To make life easier, but less caramelly, simply make half the quantity of braising liquid. It will slightly thicken while cooking, but you probably won't have enough to make the caramel.
If you cannot find Dubliner cheese, you can use cheddar (old, preferably), instead.