There’s definitely whimsy in all of the green food created for St. Patrick’s Day, for example, Gail created these stylish cookies. For this year, I wasn’t inclined to paint my blog green for the day, so I looked elsewhere to capture the authentic spirit of Ireland.
I started to research Irish desserts for something that the Irish actually eat year-round—I didn’t want to just add dye to a regular recipe I would make. (Do the Irish leave the food coloring in the cabinet on March 17 and it’s just the rest of the world that brings it out to join the party?).
There seems to be two schools of desserts: old/classic and new/contemporary recipes.
Classic desserts employ readily available ingredients such as potatoes, apples, rhubarb, and oats in the form of country-style sweet courses. Apple Pie and Bread Puddings are some popular examples.
New recipes include ingredients such as Guinness, an Irish dry stout, and Bailey’s, Irish whiskey and cream base liquor. They are either a reinterpretation of a classic or a completely new contemporary invention, such as Guinness Ice Cream w Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Guinness Cake, and Creamy Bailey’s Mousse Pie.
As my Irish luck would have it, I had the pleasure to attend a luncheon, hosted by Kerrygold, maker of butter and cheese. We met Darina Allen, founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland. Charming, insightful, and full of kitchen wisdom, she demonstrated Irish cooking techniques—one of which was bringing flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk together with the lightest clawed hand mixing everything with a continuous circular wrist motion. The result was a loaf of the most flavorful Mummy’s Brown Soda Bread I have ever tasted. Then a smear of salted butter made it even better.
During the luncheon, my conversation with Darina confirmed my suspicion–Irish desserts highlight each ingredient by remaining simple. The farm-kitchen methods are uncomplicated and the presentations unassuming, yet the flavors are more textured than you might expect. They score ten on the comfort scale.
After looking over cakes, crumbles, puddings, and trifles from the Land of Grass, I came upon an article/recipe on Carrigaline Whiskey Pie, coincidentally, from the same locale as Darina’s Cookery. This pie embodies all the virtues of a contemporary Irish dessert with a traditional base. Start with fresh eggs, good potatoes, creamy butter (preferably Irish) and a douse (1/4 cup) of good quality Irish whiskey. A little mashing and a whole lot of whisking later, you’ll have an incredible dessert to enjoy.
This isn’t a pie with a flakey pastry crust–it’s more of a soufflé-like concoction that collapses after you take it out of the oven. As it cools, the height diminishes, and it ends up looking more like a pie or quiche. Great at room temperature or slightly warm, the flavor improves with time. The texture evolves as well, so try eating the pie at different stages and see which one suits your Irish spirit.
Orange Scented Whiskey ‘Soufflé’ Pie
adapted from European Cuisines
yield: 8 servings
1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, separated
1 teaspoon orange zest, freshly grated
1-1/4 cups (8 ounces) yukon gold potatoes, mashed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for preparing pan
4 tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
6 eggs, 5 eggs separated, one whole
4 ounces whiskey, preferably Irish
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 ℉. Brush bottom of 9-inch springform pan with melted butter; line bottom with parchment. Brush paper round and side of pan with melted butter. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, using finger tips, rub 1-1/4 cups sugar and zest together, set aside.
3. In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 5 egg yolks and 1 egg on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium speed, slowly add reserved zest-sugar mixture. Beat unit just combined.
4. Beat in mashed potato, then add melted butter, almond flour, extracts, and finally the whiskey. Whisk until fully incorporated, pour into a large bowl and set aside.
5. Clean mixing bowl and whisk attachment throughly, to rid of oil spots. Return to stand mixer, on medium speed, whisk egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Add approximately, 1 cup of egg whites into the egg mixture, using the whisk attachment, stir to combine and lighten the mixture. (Don’t worry about deflating the egg whites) Fold in remaining egg whites with the whisk until completely incorporated.
7. Pour immediately into the prepared springform pan and baked for 40-45 minutes until set (Close the oven door as gently as as possible with little vibration.) Remove from the oven and set on cooling rack to cool completely. The pies will fall, so don’t panic! Serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or sweet whiskey kissed whipped cream.