In honor of my time in Ireland last month and my promise to my brother Mike I’d try to post some recipes on occasion, here are several recipes for classic Irish baked goods and naturally, the coffee-lover in me beckoned me to include Irish Coffee as well!
IRISH SODA BREAD
4 cups flour
1 Tbs. Baking powder
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. Butter, melted (1 oz.)
1 cup raisins
-Preheat the oven to 350°.
-Butter two 8” loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
-Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt, and set aside.
-Combine the eggs, buttermilk, sugar and melted butter in a bowl.
-Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, folding gently but thoroughly.
-When almost all mixed in, add the raisins.
-Fold just until mixed. The batter will be stiff.
-Spoon it into the prepared loaf pans, and bake for 45-50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
-Remove from the pans and cool on wire racks.
These were served pretty much everyday at the B&B where I stayed in Ireland last month. Lillian’s were great! While scones are quick and easy to make, many recipes can turn out dry and crumbly. Lillian says one of her secrets to soft scones is to use buttermilk. In the baking courses I took at the SRJC’s Culinary Program I also learned that when making scones, it is crucial not to over mix the dough and if possible, work with everything as cold as possible (we would go so far as to chill the bowl and cutting board we would be using and use ice-cold water– this keeps the butter hard, preventing it from being completely incorporated into the dough- small lumps of butter are ideal).
To truly get the full Irish experience when enjoying your scones, be sure to use an authentic Irish butter. Kerry Gold is the absolute favorite of Drew and Christine Van Tiem (the friends I have been staying with here in Edinburgh) and I have to concur, it is my favorite Irish butter to date.
Here’s a recipe I acquired from my baking classes. While I don’t know if it is all that authentic, I do know it makes some pretty delicious scones. You can replace the dried fruit and raisins with just about anything you like. A few of my favorite scone varieties include: strawberry, lemon, chocolate, cinnamon/apple, mixed berry, cheese, tomato & basil, pesto & cheese, maple & walnut… the possibilities are truly endless!
2 cups flour (10 oz.)
1 Tbs. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup sugar (1 3/4 oz.)
4 oz cold butter
1/2 cup dried currants (or any other chopped dried fruit) (2 oz.)
1/4 cup golden raisins (1 oz.)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 Tbs. Butter, melted (1 1/2 oz.)
2 Tbs. Sugar (1 oz.)
-Preheat the oven to 425°.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together, the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
-Cut in the butter.
-Add the dried fruit.
-Stir in the cream with a fork or a pastry scraper. The dough will be sticky.
-Lightly flour a board and transfer the dough to it.
-Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, and with your hands, and the rolling pin, pat the dough into a thick circle, about 8-9 inches around, using as light a touch as possible.
-Cut the circle into 12 wedges and place each piece on the baking sheet, allowing about an inch between pieces.
-Brush each scone with butter, and sprinkle with sugar.
-Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Coffee Geek is one of my favorite coffee blogs. Here is a link to an article they have on Irish Coffee that includes step-by-step instructions for how to make the real deal (with pictures): Coffee Geek: Exploring Irish Coffee
Here is a link to a recipe for Guinness cake which seems to include most if not all the ingredients found in the Guinness cake I tried in July while I was in Kerry County, Ireland. The recipe includes a few interesting facts about fruit cakes and porters in Ireland.