irish whiskey

A Toast For Saint Patrick’s Day

I’m not a big fan of Saint Patrick’s Day. I mean the guy was supposed to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland. As Ireland supposedly never had snakes, it is now generally accepted that the snakes he drove out were Pagans! Since I like both snakes and Pagans, it’s not really a day of celebration for me.

However, Saint Patrick didn’t really succeed in ridding Ireland of Pagans. So with this in mind I think I’ll celebrate this Saint Patrick’s Day in a true Pagan way – with food and drink!

So raise your glasses, or your cupcakes, and celebrate with some great Irish spirits – Irish whiskey and Irish cream!

St Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

st patrick's day

These Irish Whiskey cupcakes topped with Irish Cream frosting are in no danger of being driven out of Ireland by St Patrick! 

Special Equipment:
12 green paper cupcake cases

Ingredients
for the whiskey cupcakes:
1 + 1/2 cups flour
1 + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the Irish cream frosting
2 + 1/2 cups double cream
2 + 1/2 tablespoons powdered (icing) sugar
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 12 green paper cases.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.
Add the flour mix and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix until just combined.
Add the milk, whiskey and vanilla and mix until combined.
Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon the batter evenly into paper cases.
Bake for 10 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling make the whipped cream by whipping together the cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Stir in the Irish cream until just combined. Spoon whipped cream into a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.

You can add green food colouring to the cake or frosting and garnish with green decorations if you like.

For another Irish whiskey/cream connection check out my tribute to an Irish Coffee.

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Cheers Mr Stoker!

Dracula author Bram Stoker was born on the 8th of November 168 years ago. I love remembering the birthday of a man who achieved symbolic immortality by creating an unforgettable immortal being – Count Dracula.

I wanted to create a recipe in his honour. Normally I would go for something more gothic, but I found myself wanting to pay tribute to his Irish heritage. I thought Irish Stew or Irish Soda Bread (or both!) would be great but it’s nearly summer here so hot stews and breads are a bit heavy. Maybe I will make them for his Deathiversary in April – hopefully it will cool down by then.

Thinking of the long, hot days ahead made me think of drinks and as a big coffee fan I thought of Irish Coffee. Early versions of Irish Coffee were simply hot black coffee with Irish whiskey and brown sugar stirred through, topped with thick cream. Later versions added a slug of Irish cream liqueur – yum! Naturally I wanted to add a twist. I played around with a dessert version of the classic drink and decided to make an Irish cream liqueur panna cotta, dotted with cubes of coffee jelly and topped with a whiskey cream.

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An Irish Coffee I ordered in Chengdu, China. 🙂

Working with gelatine is an adventure in itself. I use the leaves as sometimes the powder is difficult to combine and can become grainy. Leaves are great but they come in different strengths and you’re not always sure what strength they are. For jelly I usually follow the recommendations on the packet for the water/gelatine ratios. For panna cotta, I often use a bit less gelatine as I sometimes like my panna cotta creamier and less set. The panna cotta below is soft set so it contrasts well with the jelly. If you like your panna cotta set more firmly, just use more gelatine.

As this recipe is assembled on serving, you can add as much or as little coffee jelly and whiskey cream as you like. You can also choose whether you want the panna cottas to serve two, four or more people.

Irish Coffee Dessert

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Ingredients

for the panna cotta
4g of gelatine leaves
1 + 1/2 cups double cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur

for the coffee jelly
6g of gelatine leaves
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/4 cup sugar

for the whiskey cream
1 cup double cream
2 teaspoons icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

Method
To make the panna cotta:
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes to soften.
While gelatine is soaking heat the cream and sugar together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove any excess water then add them to the cream mixture. Whisk until the gelatine has dissolved. Stir in the Irish cream.
Pour panna cotta into a heatproof jug. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring regularly with a whisk. Give a final stir then pour evenly into glasses or bowls. Leave some room on the top for the jelly and cream.
Cover and refrigerate overnight or until set.

To make the coffee jelly:
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes to soften.
While gelatine is soaking heat the coffee and sugar together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Squeeze out any extra water from the gelatine leaves then add to the warm coffee. Whisk until the gelatine has dissolved.
Pour jelly into a square or rectangle container.
Allow to cool before covering and refrigerating until set. Cut into rough squares for serving.

To make the whiskey cream:
Using a wire whisk, beat together the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Whisk in the whiskey until combined. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

To serve, dot the panna cottas with coffee jelly cubes and pipe or dollop on the whiskey cream.