Let's eat: Barley Strawberry Shortcake with Witbier Curd and Hopped Sugar

Barley Strawberry Shortcake with Witbier Curd and Hopped Sugar

PG tested

For seven years running, the PG food team — beer writer Bob Batz, homes editor Kevin Kirkland and yours truly — has dished up a tasty bite-sized dessert at the Steel City Big Pour at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. We always go for something beery (it’s a craft beer festival, after all) that also satisfies the massive crowd’s sweet tooth. For today’s event, we decided to put a brew spin on strawberry shortcake. We think it’s pretty terrific, so in case you didn’t get tickets, here’s the recipe. 

The barley flour shortcake is a bit nuttier than one made with regular flour. It pairs perfectly with the creamy Witbier curd, which is redolent of coriander and orange peel flavor and has a wheaty, malty undertone. Be sure to grind the dried hops flowers — available at any beer supply store — as finely as possible before mixing with the sugar and strawberries. Otherwise, the tiny leaves will get caught in your teeth. 


For curd

¾ cup Witbier, such as Allagash White

2 tablespoons orange juice

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 extra-large egg, at room temperature

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

4 tablespoons butter

For strawberries

1 pound strawberries, stemmed, hulled, and sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon dried hops, crushed

For biscuits

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup barley flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup cold heavy cream

Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Prepare curd: Pour the Witbier into a medium-sized saucepan, bring to boil over medium heat and reduce to ½ cup, about 3 minutes. Take pan off the heat and add it back into the liquid measuring cup with the orange juice. Pour the beer-juice mixture back into the pot and add the sugar.

In a bowl, add the whole egg, egg yolks and salt. Lightly whisk the eggs until well incorporated and lightly fluffy. Whisk the beer mixture and slowly add the egg mixture, being careful not to scramble the eggs. Mix everything together until the pre-curd is even in color and consistency.

Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, continuously stirring, until the curd reaches 170 degrees. (It should be thick and leave a streak as you scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula.) Remove from heat and immediately add the butter. Mix well and transfer to a pint-size canning jar. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cool and set. After 2 hours, the Witbier curd is ready to use.

Prepare strawberries: Combine strawberries, sugar and hops in a medium bowl. Toss and set aside at room temperature. Let stand for at least 15 minutes.

Make biscuits: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in about ⅓ of heavy cream. Stir to start to mix in the cream with a spatula or wooden spoon. When first ⅓ is almost incorporated, add another ⅓, followed by final ⅓, at which point the dough should come together.

Divide dough into four equal portions and place on prepared baking sheet (see note above). Bake until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To assemble: Split each biscuit in half. Top each bottom half of a biscuit with about ½ cup strawberries, followed by a few tablespoons of curd. Top with biscuit halves and serve immediately. If you like, you also can spoon on whipped cream.

— Adapted from Beer Advocate


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