This month is a twofer…Wine Blogging Wednesday(WBW) teams up with Sugar High Friday(SHF). SHF is very close to WBW it just deals with deserts and sweets; I think I will have my wife get involved in that more often. SHF is founded by Jennifer Hamilton of The Domestic Goddess. This happens to be SHF 62 edition.
This month we have been presented this challenge, and I say challenge for a couple of reasons; first though here is the deal:
“Most meals end with dessert and coffee or a glass of liqueur. The focus on the meal is long since gone, as is the wine. Guests are getting sleepy, hosts are getting antsy about the clean-up ahead of them and no one is paying attention to what they’re eating or drinking anymore. I think this is shameful. Every once in a while, dessert deserves the attention given to a main course…
The proper pairing of a sugary confection with a good wine is a difficult thing to maneuver. I have seen it done a few times in restaurants, once or twice at dinner parties and maybe done it once myself – and I almost certainly managed it by accident. Do you go sweeter with the wine than the dessert or match it? Do you go red or white or ice? Do you try to harmonize regions or go completely off the map (so to speak) with your choice…?
I say challenge because I suck at baking and I suck at wine pairings. I usually go with what first comes to my head, and since, baking requires measuring…I just don’t bother.
But, when I first found about this from Lenn at the New York Cork Report, a bulb went off in my head, something like this: February…Valentines day…sweets…wine…Melissa…Shinn…butterscotch pudding…Wölffer Estate Late Harvest Chardonnay.
Now to decipher…Valentines day falls in February, Melissa, my wife, is an excellent baker and sweets maker, David Paige from Shinn Estate Vineyards had a wine makers dinner recently and made butterscotch pudding, I have that recipe from their book, and I remember the taste of Wolffer’s Late harvest Chardonnay. I have no clue If I can bring them together, but here we go!
First the Recipe for the pudding. This is taken from “Recipes from Home” by David Page and Barbara Shinn, Proprietors of Shinn Estate Vineyards
6 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and lightly whisk them together.
Whisk together the milk cream and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until small bubbles form around the edge. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the granulated sugar in the water in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Increase the heat to high and cook the sugar without stirring until it is golden amber in color. Carefully and slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the caramel and still with a long wooden spoon or whisk; the caramel will bubble up and steam as you begin to combine them. Gently and slowly whisk the caramel cream into the egg yolks. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Strain the pudding and refrigerate it until cooled, about 30 minuets. Skim off any air bubbles.
Per heat the oven to 300° F
Pour the pudding into six 6oz ramekins . Place them ins a deep baking pan and put the pan in the oven. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the side of the ramekins, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake the puddings for about 50 minuets. When gently shaken, they should look set around the edges but not quiet set in a quarter size area in the center.
Remove the Ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, serve chilled.
The pudding came out from the fridge and it looked silky soft and perfect. The coloring was spot on, as you can see from the picture.
It tasted perfect. It was soft and velvety. Tasted like a sophisticated butterscotch candy, not one that is overly sweet. This pudding is not like how my mom made it, from a box. My father in law who was over that night for dinner, was looking for more, said, in so many words, that he could eat a tub of this. I might have to agree with him.
Now, my wife is a fantastic baker and cook too, but one day I hope to try David’s version.
On to the wine pairing. The first thing I am thinking that maybe this Late Harvest Chardonnay may be buttery to go with this Butterscotch pudding. Maybe it will be too sweet, maybe I should have gone with a chocolate port…but this is what I thought of first and this is how it went…in my opinion, perfectly!
First a little technical information about the wine from Wolffer’s website. Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2007 Late Harvest (Ice Wine) Chardonnay ($37).
The wine is a blend of 75% Chardonnay, 12% Vignoles, 10% Gewürztraminer and 3% Trebbiano. All the grapes were hand picked from special selected lots starting on September 21st for the Gewürztraminer and finishing on October 20st with the Vignole. 2007 was one of the best growing seasons Long Island has ever had, resulting in healthy rich and ripe fruit. The grapes were immediately transported in their 30Lbs picking boxes into a commercial freezer and stored at 11° Fahrenheit until December 3rd. The frozen grapes were pressed, yielding a very concentrated and lush grape juice at 40 Brix, a fabulous acidity of 10 gr/liter Total Acidity and a pH of 3.39. The juice was fined and well settled; the fermentation was done in stainless steel and took 28 days at a cool temperature of 63°. Chilling and racking the wine stopped the fermentation resulting in 9.5% Alc. by Volume and a residual Sugar of 252 gr/Ltr. Malolactic fermentation was strictly avoided to keep the acidity and the pure fruit characters. The wine was filtered and bottled beginning of June 2008 resulting in 835 cases of 375ml
On the nose, there was a done of dried apricot, pineapple a little dried peach and some lychee juice. There is a little Gewürztraminer in this Late harvest.
The taste was in perfect balance. There was some tropical notes and a very nice dried sweet fruit like I was picking up on the nose. There was also a touch of some citrus. It was viscous and lush with a honey like syrupy mouth feel. There was a perfect amount of acidity to cut the sugary feeling and clear the palate for my next spoonful of pudding with just a hint of vanilla on the finish.
Now was this the best pairing, no…probably not. But it was my pairing and I loved it. The acidity in the wine did cut through the think and heavy pudding. That is why it went so well. The wine is rather food friendly, it is not overly sweet, it is subtle, just the way I like my desert wine.
Thanks to Jennifer Hamilton of The Domestic Goddess for hosting.
Thanks to Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report for invinting Wine Blogging Wednesday
I really enjoyed this challenge first because it was a challenge that I think I won, but more importantly, I got my wife involved and we had this on Valentine’s day. I love you Melissa, and thanks for making me that delicious Butterscotch pudding!
Did ya save us some!!
Ask mom…she has the book too 😉
Next time dad!
And the chocolate one is good too!
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