Monday, July 18, 2011

Step-by-Step Recipe: Butterbeer (for Adults)

Friday night, my husband and I stood in line for over an hour just to get seats at a late showing of the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II.  Luckily, I bought tickets online a week in advance, or else I'm not sure we would have gotten in!  It was a great movie, and extra great to enjoy a little glass of butterbeer before heading to the theater!

As promised last week, I spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen this weekend.  The first experiment was to try the popular beverage of witches and wizards: butterbeer.  I found a recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Ezra Pound Cake.

I'll tell you right now that while I fully believe this is a good buttebeer recipe, I'm not sure I'll make it again.  And since it has about 98398739 calories, that's probably a good thing.  The end result is a creamy, butterscotchy beer beverage.  If I could not make the beer part, I think it would be even better.  But then it's basically homemade butterscotch eggnog.  Because I didn't like the beer part that much, I used very little of it, which is why my glass here looks so pale compared to the one from the original recipe.

But the butterscotch cream is pretty tasty, and you could probably cut it with some cream soda to make a nice, though admittedly less buttery, drink.

Click for pictures and recipe!

Start by assembling your ingredients.  You'll notice that there are no cloves in this picture--that's because I don't like cloves.  I also used freshly grated nutmeg and skipped the extra bourbon or rum. I forgot to include the beer and butter in this shot.  Note: this recipe calls for 4 egg yolks.  Rather than throwing away the whites, I refrigerated them and used them for breakfast the next morning. 

Beat the yolks in a bowl (I used my stand mixer) until they lighten a bit in color.

Slowly add the sugar and beat until dissolved.  Set aside.

Add the milk, cream, and spices to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it just starts to boil.

Remove from heat.  Slowly add small amounts of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, stirring constantly.  (This will temper the eggs; they won't be cooked in such a way that they scramble, but they'll be cooked enough to be safe for people who worry about raw eggs.)  I did not get any pictures of this process because 1) it required both hands, and 2) it was a bit messy.  Return cream to pot and heat to 160 degrees.  (If you don't have a candy thermometer, just heat until bubble form around the egde and it starts to simmer--do not boil.  Remove cream from heat and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, add the beer a small sauce pan and heat over medium-high.  Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add butter, and stir until melted.  Add a pinch of salt.  Set aside to cool.

I served this cold, so it was extra important that the cream be cold, since the beer mixture was room temp.  You can add ice if you like.  Enjoy!

Butterbeer for Adults, recipe from Rebecca at Ezra Pound Cake
Time: 30 minutes + cooling. Serves: 4.


Butterscotch Cream Mixture:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint (2 cups) whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or rum (optional)

Beer Mixture:

  • 1 bottle of beer (I used Yazoo Hefeweizen.)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt


  1. For the Butterscotch Cream Mixture: In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.
  2. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the milk, cream and spices, and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, and gradually add small amounts of the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking the entire time.
  5. Pour everything back into the pot, and heat until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butterscotch schnapps and bourbon or rum (if using).
  6. Pour the butterscotch cream mixture into a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator.
  7. For the Beer Mixture: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the beer. Add the sugar, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter, and whisk until it melts. Whisk in a pinch of salt, and remove from the heat.
  8. To Serve Warm: Pour the warm beer mixture into glasses. Set aside. Whisk your butterscotch cream mixture (or froth it with an immersion blender), add a small amount to the glass, and stir. Serve immediately.
  9. To Serve Cold: Let the warm beer mixture cool to room temperature. Set aside. Whisk your butterscotch cream mixture (or froth it with an immersion blender), add it to the glass, and stir. Serve immediately. (If you’ve been storing the beer mixture in the fridge, it will have a layer of butter and sugar collected on its surface, so you’ll need to warm it over low heat before adding it to the cold butterscotch cream.)

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