National Dessert Day: Sweets Meet Suds!

National Dessert Month (October) is upon us, and today is National Dessert Day! Let’s Grab a Beer has enlisted renowned pastry chef Melanie Diamond-Manlusoc of Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Spiaggia in Chicago, to create some delicious fall dessert recipes you won’t find anywhere else.

Each recipe was carefully crafted with beer pairings in mind and then suggested pairings were made by our beer expert Marc Stroobandt once complete.  See below for links to the full recipes, professional photos and beer pairing notes!

1)      Cinnamon Pretzel Twists


a.       Suggested Pairing: Doppelbock like Spaten Optimator


b.      Tasting Notes: A traditional, dark, German-style Doppelbock beer brings together the sweetness of the sugar and cinnamon as well as the chocolate, icing sugar and fruit dipping sauce flavors of the pretzels while the full-flavored, dark roasted, nutty and chocolate malt notes match the pretzels themselves.    


Pretzel Dough
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 c warm water
2 T sugar
Mix first 3 ingredients together and set aside until foamy
2 T light brown sugar
1 T canola oil
Place yeast mixture, light brown sugar, oil, and dry ingredients in a stand mixer
1 tsp salt
1½ c bread flour
1 c all purpose flour
1 T ground flax seed (optional)
Using dough hook, mix until dough is smooth and elastic
Spray a large, clean bowl with pan spray
Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in refrigerator overnight
The next day, put dough a floured counter
Divide dough into golf ball sized pieces
Roll each piece into a 2ft long rope (first roll dough on the table into a 6” rope, let rest, hold each end of the rope andshake dough up and down until it stretches to 2ft long)
Fold each rope in half and twist
Place pretzels onto a parchment lined sheet pan
Soaking Water
3 c hot water
¼ c baking soda
Whisk hot water and baking soda together in a bowl
Dip each pretzel in water mixture for a couple of seconds
Shake off excess water and place on a parchment lined sheet pan
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 min or until golden brown
Brush hot pretzels completely with melted butter
Let pretzels sit for 2 minutes 
Cinnamon Sugar
1 c sugar
2 T ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
Roll pretzels in cinnamon sugar
Citrus Cream Cheese Sauce
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 T butter, room temp
1 c powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 T heavy cream
zest from 1 lemon 
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth
Smoky Chocolate Sauce
¼ c light corn syrup
4 oz water
¼ c sugar
½ c cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ancho chili powder
⅛ c dark chocolate
Put first 6 ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil
Remove from heat
Whisk chocolate into pot until chocolate is melted
Strain chocolate sauce and cool completely
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
6 oz cranberries
zest of ½ an orange
zest of ½ a lemon
¾ c sugar
1 ½ c water
1 ½ cinnamon sticks
pinch of salt 
Put all ingredients into a pot
Cook at medium heat until cranberries have popped
Remove cinnamon sticks
Immersion blend
Let cool completely



2)      “Pump-Can Cake”– a Pecan pie baked inside of a pumpkin cake


a.       Suggested Pairing: Belgian-style Pumpkin-flavored white beer like Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat


b.      Tasting Notes: A Belgian-style, pumpkin-flavored white beer not only brings similar flavors to this unique pumpkin dessert, but also will cut through the richness and add zesty, citrus flavors to lighten this dish allowing all the flavors and its unique seasoning to shine.


Pie Crust
1¼c all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
⅛ tsp salt
½ c butter, cubed and frozen1 large egg
Pulse first 4 ingredients together in food processor until it resembles cornmeal with pea-sized chunks of butter
Add egg and process until dough forms into a ball
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and press into ½” thick disc
Put dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour
Roll dough out into a 12” circle approximately ⅛” thick
Put into an 8” cake pan, trimming dough, leave 1” overhang
Tuck overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick crust
Freeze pie crust for 30 minute
Cover pie crust with foil and fill with beans or pie weights
Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until crust is set (start cooking pecan pie filling while the crust is baking)
Remove foil and beans/pie weights
Cook until crust is light brown and remove from the oven
Turn oven down to 350 degrees
Pecan Pie Filling
¾ c light corn syrup
5 T unsalted butter
1 c light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ tsp salt2 c whole toasted pecans
3 T bourbon
2.5 tsp vanilla paste3 large eggs, beaten
Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil for 1 minuteRemove pot from heat and add next 3 ingredients
Let cool for 5 minutesWhisk eggs into pie mixture
Put pie shell on a sheet pan and pour pie filling into shell
Bake for 45 minutes or until edges are set and center is still slightly loose
Cool pie completely
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
6 large eggs
16 oz canned pumpkin puree
¾ c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 c sugar
1 c light brown sugar, lightly packed2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Whisk first 6 ingredients together
Sift remaining ingredients together and whisk into wet ingredients
Spray a 10” spring form pan with pan spray
Place a round of parchment in bottom of the pan
Pour batter into pan 1” thick
Put pecan pie in pan, making sure that it is centered
Pour remaining batter in pan over and round pie
Place pan on a sheet tray and place in 350 degree oven
Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (don’t stab through the pie)
Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan
Remove cake from pan and place on cooling rack
Let cake cool completely before frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
9oz cream cheese, room temp
4 ½ T butter, room temp
¾ tsp vanilla paste
3 c powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp salt
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth
Only frost cake when it is completely cool


3)      Dark Chocolate Cremoso


a.       Suggested Pairing: Belgian Dark Ale like Leffe Brune


b.      Tasting Notes: A Belgian-style Dark Brown Ale is perfect to bring out the best of this intense and luscious chocolate dessert taking away the sharper edges and bringing out the creamy cocoa; creating a real, multifaceted sensory experience.


500g milk
50g heavy cream
3g agar agar
3.5g sheet gelatin (silver)
400g Felchlin Maracaibo 65% dark chocolate
150g heavy cream, medium peak
Fluid gel with milk through gelatin
Pour milk mixture over chocolate like making ganache, whisk until incorporated
Whisk in medium peak cream
Cool completely on ice bath until cremoso is set
Puffed Rice Cook rice in pot or rice cooker
Rinse rice in a sieve under cold water to remove extra starch
Spread rice in a thin layer on a silpat or teflon sheet
Dehydrate in dehydrator (or leave out, uncovered for 2 days) until dry to the touch
Put dried rice in a metal bowl or cambro and break apart clumps with the end of a rolling pin
Put a small amount in a metal sieve and fry in small batches at 400 degrees (rice should sink and then violently puff to the surface)
Let excess oil drain on paper towels
Season warm puffed rice with salt
Let cool
White truffle infused acacia honey
Maldon salt
Edible Flowers
Shaved white truffles





Comments are closed.