Mince Pies and Hazelnut Ale – Eric Lanlard Launches Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale

Nothing sets off the festive spirit and signals the approach of Christmas quite like mince pies, and that’s what we learned to make with Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard at Cake Boy in order to celebrate the launch of Meantime‘s latest limited edition beer in The Pilot Series: Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale.


We found Eric Lanlard’s boutique patisserie by the river near Wandsworth Town on an evening in December, which, in London, means that it had been pitch black for several hours already. A step into the patisserie brought us into a different world, where the sofas were as colourful as the macarons. We sipped a glass of Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale as we stared at the mini Christmas trees and chocolate baubles on the counter. Fairy lights twinkled in the background – yes, it’s Christmas.

The nutty and smooth dark ale was created with Christmas in mind. But more than that, it is the spirit of experimentation that led Meantime’s Brewmaster Ciaran Giblin to incorporate hazelnut, an ingredient from baking and festive desserts, into an ale. The desire to create something exciting, different and unexpected sits at the heart of Meantime’s Pilot Series: 26 limited edition beers of which Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale is the latest addition.

It is, again, the spirit of experimentation that led Eric to incorporate the ale into these special mince pies. We soon donned aprons with the pink Cake Boy logo to find out how to make them. We gleamed a few top tips from the Master Pâtissier throughout the evening.

5 tips from Eric Lanlard – how to bake (and eat) the perfect mince pie Continue reading “Mince Pies and Hazelnut Ale – Eric Lanlard Launches Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale”

Beer Braised Duck

Beer braised duck recipe (pi jiu ya)

Legend has it that beer braised duck (also known as beer duck stew) was invented by the Qing dynasty emperor Kangxi. The story goes that he accidentally knocked his sorghum wine into a duck stew, and found that it improved the taste of the dish. Nowadays, the recipe usually uses Tsingtao beer, but most beers work, so you can test it out with your favourite.

In this version, I’m using Lowland Glen from the Harviestoun Brewery because the description mentioned a fruity finish with malty undertones. In the past, I’ve also used Guinness, which gave the duck a heavier taste.

The following recipe will give you quite a spicy version of the dish, so if you prefer a more lightly spiced version, I’d strongly suggest halving the chilli, peppercorns and fennel.

The cooking time is 50 mins (although prep time is super short), and this recipe serves 2. It’s really easy to make – as you can see, there are fewer steps than usual. Ideally, use a wok when you cook this.

Beer Braised Duck

2 duck legs or 1/4 duck
2 star anise
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
1/2 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns
5-6 dried chilli
1 tbsp of soya sauce
1 bottle of beer (around 330ml)
1 baby spring onion

Oil for frying, and salt to taste. Continue reading “Beer braised duck recipe (pi jiu ya)”