Celeb chef makes a dessert with SA’s first nitrogenated beer
What do you get if you combine a leading chef, an ice-cream maker and South Africa’s first nitrogenated beer?
Castle Milk Stout Ultra Smooth is The South African Breweries’ first nitrogenated beer, created to give a sensory effect with its creamy foam head. Johannesburg ice-cream maker extraordinaire Paul Ballen was asked by chef David Higgs to collaborate on a pairing.
“I had made a Valrhona dark chocolate waffle with honeycomb and salted caramel which I thought would pair beautifully with a Castle Milk Stout Ultra Smooth ice-cream,” said Higgs. So he approached Ballen of Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream fame and put him to work churning out the once-off product.
Ballen, who has made a stout and milk chocolate ice-cream previously, said he wanted to create something which would “blow David away”.
“It was an honour to be asked by such a highly regarded chef to create something for him, so I had to make sure it was even better than my best,” he said. “Using liquid in ice cream, like beer, in ice cream could make it icy, so one has to be careful. I had to minimise the water content of the beer by reducing it first, and creating syrup.”
How the ice cream was made
The Ultra Smooth syrup was added to a Crème Anglaise base of egg yolk, milk, cream and sugar, with molasses for colour and flavour. “I wanted to highlight the elements of the beers, like the flavour of the molasses and bring these out in the ice-cream,” he said. Ballen was happy with the results and said he would possibly like to offer the ice-cream to his regular buyers at deli’s and markets in Johannesburg.
As for Chef Higgs, he loved the pairing. “The honeycomb sweetness was offset by a slightly bitter aftertaste from the ice-cream that mimicked the stout – but not unpleasant, rather almost like a savouriness,” Higgs said.
“The smooth texture of the ice-cream was a brilliant contrast to the honeycomb’s crumbly texture – absolutely delicious.”