What's For Dessert: Crème Brûlée Stout Pudding with Whipped Cream

I first tried Southern Tier Brewing Company's Crème Brûlée stout beer at Aqualand Ale House in Boulder Junction, WI. This was way back on New Year's Eve, and I have been dreaming about that stout ever since. I cannot put into words how happy I was when I found a bottle of it at our local grocery store. The only downside being that the bottle was ginormous -- way too much stout for me to drink in one sitting. So, sadly, the bottle languished in our fridge. 

Finally, after several months (and some gentle prodding from D), I decided that in addition to drinking a glass, I'd use the remainder in a few recipes. Given the beer's distinctive crème brûlée nose and sweet vanilla flavor, I knew it would work quite deliciously in dessert recipes. A quick Internet search led me to The Beeroness's site and her awesome recipe for chocolate stout pudding. I made a few tiny tweaks, and the resulting pudding is a delightfully rich treat with an unmistakable stout flavor. Because the flavor is so rich, I highly recommend using small serving containers; I used 4-ounce jelly jars (placing lids on top would make this pudding easily transportable and perfect for a picnic treat). If you can't find STBC's Crème Brûlée Stout, any chocolate stout or vanilla porter would likely make an excellent substitution.

Crème Brûlée Stout Pudding (printer-friendly version)
makes 6 servings

For the pudding:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 cup Crème Brûlée stout beer (or any chocolate stout)
1 large egg yolk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

1 cup organic heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a large sauce pot. Stir in the heavy cream, stout beer, and egg yolk.
2. Add the chopped chocolate and, while stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, cook for one minute while whisking.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter, one cube at a time. Then stir in the vanilla extract. 4. Carefully pour the pudding into six containers. (I used 4-ounce jelly jars.) Chill the pudding in the refrigerator until set, about 2 hours.
4. To make the whipped cream, chill your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
5. Pour the heavy cream into the chilled mixing bowl and whip at high speed. When the cream begins to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla extract.
6. Continue to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
7. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each container of pudding right before serving.

(lightly adapted from this recipe from The Beeroness)