The Decision to Bake with Pliny
It has been a little over 3 years since I started baking with craft beer. It has been a fun experiment. However, you could imagine that the one request that I get ad nauseam is to make a recipe with Pliny the Elder. What took me so long to make this happen was not an unwillingness to do so, but rather, a response from a scarcity mindset. Bottled Pliny doesn’t pass through my hands as often as I would love. So any time that I do get a hold of a boomer of Pliny, it tends to go into my mouth and not batter.
As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been too many recipes on the site this past month and a half. This is because I have made the move from southern California to Seattle. Desperate for a change from the monotony of mediocre Orange County nuclear family lifestyle, I made drastic decision to leave all that behind for something new. What this means for Baking Brew is that there will be a plethora of new beers to try.
During this arduous car ride, it was a must that I stop in Santa Rosa and visit the Pliny mother ship. Russian River offers your staples including the Blind Pig and Pliny as well as their Belgian offerings such as Beatification, Supplicaiton, and Temptation. You can bet your tight-fitting jeans that we picked up a few bottles of Pliny to take with us.
Now having a surplus of the hyped double IPA, it is time to make a recipe with it. IPA’s make a terrible quick bread. All of the hops comes out and leaves your mouth feeling dry as you chew. Of course, IPAs work great with berries and citrus along with sugar so why not pair Pliny the Elder with elder fruit? Elder fruit being hard to come by, we opted to use Trader Joe’s Power Berry juice. Typically a staple in shakes and to help during the flu season, we unleashed this juice onto our beer recipe.
Power Berry Packs Punch, Tastes like a Muffin
The power berry and Pliny mix came together quite elegantly to produce a berry flavor cake with the texture of the a muffin. Typically this recipe would call for 1/2 a cup of milk. However, adding liquid meant we needed to step up our fat game. Rather than milk, I opted for vegetable oil with only tablespoons of milk. This allowed for my to compensate for the extra liquid from the beer without sacrificing fats. The result is a fluffy cake loaf with the texture of a Costco muffin.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F and ensure your rack is adjusted to the middle. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, add the Pliny the Elder and Power Berry juice. Place on low heat and let simmer untl the liquids is reduced to 1/4 cup of liquid.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, add the butter and sugar. With a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter until ribbony smooth. Add the milk and eggs and continue mixing. Grab your dry mix bowl and slowly add it to your butter cream, now using a spatula spoon to fold in the flour. Continue folding until ingredients are fully mixed.
- Once the liquids on the beer / berry blend has been reduced, immediately add the hot liquid to the batter. Continue mixing with the spatula. Once fully mixed, to a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and let cool for 30 minutes, but I am not your mother and I didn’t listen to that rule. Enjoy!