Several weeks ago I attended an event called ‘Stoutrageous’ at the (now sadly defunct) Underbelly Bar. A room full of people were taken through about six (things got pretty hazy toward the end) different stouts by Brisbane beer guy Matt Kirkegaard*, with a selection of hand-made chocolates as an accompaniment. I already knew that a good stout can go very well with chocolate, and recently had the pleasure of tasting a sour cream chocolate stout cake with coffee chocolate ganache made by a friend.
But at one point during the evening, Matt wondered aloud why no brewer with an urge to experiment had made a chocolate beetroot stout. After all, beetroot and chocolate cakes are a thing. Stout goes with chocolate. Chocolate goes with beetroot. Why not beetroot with stout? The logic seemed sound, and the spark of an idea formed in my stout-addled brain.
Although I have home-brewed, I am not a brewer, and could not therefore bring Matt’s vision of a chocolate beetroot stout to fruition. I am, however, a very capable home cook, and the following weekend I began researching every recipe for chocolate-stout sauces/icings and chocolate-beetroot cakes/cupcakes/puddings I could find on the internet. Confident that I had all the information I needed, I picked up a couple of ingredients from the shops and began The Grand Experiment: a chocolate and beetroot pudding with chocolate stout sauce.
Chocolate + Beetroot Pudding with Chocolate Stout Sauce
- 1 beetroot (about 200/250 grams)
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 150g butter
- 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 200g dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup thickened cream
- 1/2 cup good quality stout (I used Sierra Nevada Stout)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Trim, peel and coarsely grate the beetroot (wear disposable gloves if you don’t want the beetroot to stain your hands red). Sift the cocoa powder and flour together into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar until it’s creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully beaten into the mixture before adding the next. Carefully fold in the cocoa/flour mixture. Stir in the grated beetroot and milk.
Spoon the mixture into ramekins greased with butter (I used two 250ml ramekins, but had enough mixture left over for at least another one or two). Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until cooked through (insert a skewer into the pudding – when it comes out clean it’s cooked).
While the puddings are baking, add the stout to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let it cook until reduced by half. Put aside.
Break the chocolate into chunks and add to another saucepan with the cream over a low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. Add the reduced stout and stir until fully combined. Remove from heat.
Remove the warm puddings carefully from the ramekins (sliding a knife down the sides helps if it’s sticking), and place on a plate. Drizzly the chocolate stout sauce generously over the top and serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
So how did it turn out? In a word: stoutrageous. The stout flavour in the sauce is subtle, but definitely there. And the beetroot in the pudding gives a lovely earthy depth to the chocolate flavour. This was definitely a winner.
Variations? Increase the stout flavour by adding more stout (perhaps a cup, but reduced by a half). This recipe would also work well for a cake-size pudding or even as cupcakes, and the chocolate stout sauce will set nicely into icing if refrigerated.
(Editor’s note: apologies for the self-indulgence but, to my knowledge, I have never been a recipe muse before, and it is a great recipe.)