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January 2009

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Butter Beer (not butterbeer)

I must admit, this is something I've never researched, assuming it was a JKR creation, but apparently not. According to Heston Blumenthal, it's a real drink popular in Tudor England, and he's tried to recreate the recipe. It sounds like just the thing to me - I think most of the recipes I've seen trying to recreate the Harry Potter drink are far too sweet. This sounds as though it will be rich, spicy and warming without being sickly:

2 cans Old Speckled Hen ale
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
120g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
20g unsalted butter

Pour the ale into a saucepan and stir in the ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Gently heat this mixture until it is warm (to approximately 52ºC if you have a thermometer).

In the meantime, using a hand-held blender, blitz the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy.

Once the spiced ale is warm, add the egg yolk and sugar mixture and return to the heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid starts to thicken slightly (no hotter than 78ºC). Be careful not to let the saucepan get too hot or the eggs will scramble. Maintain this temperature for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it melts. Then froth the mixture with a small cappuccino whisk until it looks like frothy, milky tea. Pour into small glasses, mini tankards or espresso cups and serve immediately.


Can we have that in English, please?

Rather, American English and measurements.

What's 120 g and 20 g in good old-fashioned non-metricness? And what is "caster sugar"?


~Amanda, from the land of ounces, pints, quarts, pounds, etc.

Re: Can we have that in English, please?

I was going to say - rather you want it in American, not English.

120g = roughly 1/2 cup or 4oz
20g = a heaped tbsp (a tbsp being 15g) or 3/4 oz

Caster sugar is what you would call "superfine" - the middle ground of granulated and confectioners (which we call icing).

Re: Can we have that in English, please?

No, she wants it in English, not Englandish.

BTW, you can make superfine sugar by putting regular sugar in the food processor for a minute or two.

This sounds good, except for the raw eggs yolks -- ick.

Re: Can we have that in English, please?

Yeah - and you can blitz it even further to get icing sugar. My mother always used to do this when serving pancakes with lemon and icing sugar.

The egg yolks don't stay raw - they cook slightly to thicken the whole. They're cooked to the same extent they would be in a custard.
I googled butterbeer recipes after reading this and all kinds of HP recipes came up - I had no idea all that kind of thing was out there! Including how to have a Harry Potter dinner party - some people go to absolutely crazy lengths!

The recipe you posted sounds gorgeous - way nicer than the butterscotch concoctions. Are you going to try making it do you reckon?
I think so. I will probably substitute cloves for allspice though (more subtle flavour), and replace the sugar with fruit sugar or honey (still on that kick!)
I was wondering how a chocolate beer would go. I'm sure it doesn't have specifically to be Speckled Hen.
This sounds lovely. Since I can't do the ale thing, what with it being alcoholic and all, I wonder if I should try it with some non-alcoholic beer? It would pale compared to the real thing buy might be passable.
I think it would work - I should imagine that it works more because of the flavour rather than any alcoholic kick.