Italian Easter Bread

April 3, 2018

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Happy Easter! Yes, I do realize that Easter was back on Sunday, but I really wanted to share this recipe for this beautiful Italian Easter Bread with you, even though I’m doing so a bit late. Truth be told, I had every intention to have this posted on Saturday morning, before Easter, but then life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. But hey, as it turns out, folks celebrate Easter every single year, so with this recipe already in hand you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019.

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This light and airy Italian Easter bread is similar to brioche. Rich and only slightly sweet, it looks amazing on your Easter brunch table. If you have a real sweet tooth, you can amp up the sugar factor by adding a sweet glaze once it comes out of the oven.  These lovely loaves are also a great way to display your brightly colored Easter Eggs.

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I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. Last year I baked Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) . Tsoureki also has an egg or eggs baked into it.

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I’ve also made Slovak Paska

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And even tried my hand with the impressive Russian Kulich (Easter bread)

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And of course every year I bake Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.

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But let me get back to talking about this year’s offering – Italian Easter Bread. It was really very easy to make, rose like a champ and looked so festive on the brunch table. My only disappointment was the egg. The recipe said that you should use RAW eggs that have been dyed, not hard-boiled ones. The claim was that the eggs would cook perfectly as the bread baked. I was skeptical. I thought a baked egg would have a weird rubbery texture, but I was hopeful, so I did use raw eggs. Although it looks like Sprinkle Bakes (the blog on which I found this recipe) eggs came out great, mine did not. They were just not done, very runny. And I could not have left the bread in the oven for any longer than I did as it was perfectly golden. Turns out it wasn’t a disaster, we just ate around the offending egg. In the future I think I will just use a raw egg which has not been dyed, as a place holder in the oven. Once the bread is done baking, I will carefully remove that egg and swap it out for a perfectly hardboiled dyed egg. Another advantage of doing it that was is that you won’t have to worry about any of the eggs coloring bleeding onto the loaves. And don’t forget to rub your finished eggs with a little bit of oil to really make them shine!

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So, once again I hope you will forgive my tardiness with this Easter post. Please keep this Italian Easter Bread at the ready for next year. Happy be-lated Easter!

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Italian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 6 braided loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (301 ml.) milk or half and half
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups (408 to 544 grams) bread flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Rainbow nonpareils
  • 6 raw eggs, room temperature, dyed in rainbow colors *please see my above note on use of raw eggs

Directions:

Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Warm just until the butter is completely melted and remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.
Combine the yeast, salt, eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the warm milk and half of the flour. Knead with the dough hook until combined. Add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer. You may not have to use all of the flour (but I did!). Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes longer, or until completely smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough with a fist. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and pat it down slightly so that the dough has an even thickness. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches in length. Take two lengths and twist them together; loop the twist into a circle and pinch the ends together. Place the circle onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small condiment cup. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle on the nonpareils and gently place a dyed egg in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and fragrant. Let cool on wire racks..

Notes:

  • For a simple milk glaze, mix 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together until smooth. A little vanilla extract couldn’t hurt, either.
  • After the dough is raised and turned out onto a work surface, 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and 1/4 cup blanched almonds can be mixed in.  2 tablespoons of citrus zest may be added to the dough also.

Enjoy!

Italian Easter Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats www.leaandjay.com

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Italian Easter Bread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips small silicone pastry brush

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

March 17, 2018

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Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, the last post of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe run features a cupcake. Well, not an American style cupcake, but what is known as a Butterfly Cake or also sometimes as a Fairy Cake in Ireland. Butterfly Cakes consist of a light Victoria sponge style cake that has a circle carved out that top, the resulting hollow has been filled with jam, topped with whipped cream and then had the halved top circle reinserted so as to resemble butterfly or fairy wings. Then the whole shebang is dusted with confectioners sugar. Butterfly Cakes are staples at children’s birthday parties. What I’ve got for you today is the adult version. My whipped cream is heavily laced with Baileys. Yup…these Butterflies are a wee bit tipsy!

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And I did say that you might see that delicious homemade Strawberry Jam that I mentioned in my very first post this St. Patrick’s Day season – Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream. And it has indeed made an appearance again filling these adorable little butterfly gems. The recipe for that Strawberry Jam comes from my friend Theresa’s cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. She grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents.

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Theresa definitely knows her way around a jam jar. Every single creation of hers that  I have tasted has been exquisite and her Strawberry Jam is no exception. Simply divine! So I knew that it would be the perfect filling for these Butterfly Cakes.

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It is strange that as popular as these lovely treats are in Ireland, they never really made it across the pond to the States. American cupcakes generally are piled high with very sweet buttercream frosting. Now don’t get me wrong. I love cupcakes, pretty much all of them. But I will say that my least favorite of all of the frostings is American Buttercream. It is often grainy and toothachingly sweet. As I’ve said in many previous posts, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the way to go. If that is the frosting you’ve got, go ahead and pipe a mini mountain onto each cake! The Husband, who really doesn’t care much for chocolatey type sweets, but loves any fruit based dessert, thought these treats were the bees knees. Not too sweet and just bursting with jam and fresh cream. I’m sure the Baileys presence didn’t hurt either! A delight on St. Patrick’s Day but a great recipe to have in your arsenal for use the entire year through.

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Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

For the topping:

  • strawberry jam – I just made up a batch! See the recipe here. or use store bought if you are short on time
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 -2  Tablespoon Baileys (optional)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions:

Line cupcake tin with liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk egg white and buttermilk together in small bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat butter until pale and creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed and continuing to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla paste and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the buttermilk/egg mixture, beating only until just combined.

Using 1/4 cup scoop, divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted shows a few moist crumbs.

Cool cupcake tin on wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pan to finishing cooling on rack.

When ready to decorate, cut out the center of each cupcake, angling the knife at a 45° angle. The piece you remove should look like a cone. Cut the cone top of the cupcake in half so as to resemble butterfly wings. Fill the hollowed out part of the cupcake with strawberry jam. Top the jam with a dollop of Baileys whipped cream, or you can pipe the cream on as I did. Place the “wings” upright at an angle in the cream.

Dust generously with confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!

Butterfly Cakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butterfly Cakes filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Oxo Good Grips Baker’s Dusting Wand


Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2018

 

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Ahhh…Shepherd’s Pie. Comfort food at its finest. There are many many versions of this dish. Today I am bringing you one from Chef Cathal Armstrong’s cookbook My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve. Chef Armstrong, originally from Dublin Ireland, has a culinary empire here in Northern Virginia  which includes Restaurant Eve, the Majestic Cafe, two branches of Eamonn’s – A Dublin Chipper, PX cocktail lounge and Society Fair a gourmet emporium and wine bar. He is an internationally recognized four-star chef and leader in the sustainable food movement which he attributes firmly to his Irish upbringing. Chef Armstrong has brought forth this cookbook which contains a collection of family recipes and Irish inspired dishes from Restaurant Eve.

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He makes his version of Shepherd’s Pie with a rich stew of diced lamb shoulder and fresh vegetables. It also has double potatoes – Potatoes in the stew and creamy mashed potatoes topping it. That is my kind of dish! I’m one of those folks that seriously considers ordering a baked potato and french fries for my two sides in a restaurant when given a choice. So of course I love the abundance of spuds in this Shepherd’s Pie.

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Interestingly, there is some controversy as to where this dish originated. Chef Armstrong says that it is an interpretation of a French dish called hachis parmentier. Others have claimed it has an English pedigree. No matter where it started, I think you can most assuredly find a version of this casserole in any Irish Pub you might visit. One of the great things about Shepherd’s Pie is that you can make it in stages. The stew part can be made 2 days prior to when you would like to serve it. Then on the day of your dinner all you need to do is make up the mashed potatoes, pipe them over the pie and then bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

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Way back when, the first year that I actually posted St. Patrick’s Day recipes on this blog, I shared Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie, which is a very different dish, so I don’t feel guilty at all blogging about it again. The more the merrier I say. Chef Ramsay uses minced lamb rather than diced lamb shoulder and he advocates grating the carrots and onions rather than chopping them. And his version isn’t really a stew.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

Which one do I like better? Difficult to say as they are so different from one another. The Husband has weighed in and picked Chef Armstrong’s version as the victor. Me…I’m not so sure. Again, they are very different. I can say without hesitation, that I would be quite happy presented with either one at a St. Patrick’s Day feast. If you’re expecting a crowd for your festivities this year, perhaps you could make both versions and hold a little competition of your own. I’m sure your guests would be thrilled!

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Chef Cathal Armstrong's Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

Ingredients:

For the Stew:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed of all fat and sinew, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups lamb stock or store-bought beef broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Brown the lamb: Pat the lamb cubes dry on all sides with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. In a large slope-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Distribute the meat evenly in the bottom of the pan without crowding it and don’t disturb it for several minutes. If you stir the cubes too soon, they will release water and the meat will boil instead of browning. After 3 or 4 minutes, turn the cubes over and brown them on the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Sweat the vegetables: Add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring with a flat-edged wooden spatula. As the vegetables cook, water will release and deglaze the pan. Use the spatula to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Sweat the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes. They should be translucent but still bit firm.

Cook the stew: Stir in the flour and allow it to brown lightly for about 2 minutes. Add the lamb stock, continuing to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Return the meat and its collected juices to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the stew to an 8 – cup baking dish. ( 9 x 9 or 11×7 would work well).

Boil the Potatoes for mashing: Place the quartered potatoes and salt in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to simmer uncovered until cooked through, about 40 minutes. To tell if they are cooked, take a piece out and cut it in half to see if it’s soft in the center.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Mash the potatoes: Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and stir them over the heat for a coupled of minutes. This ensures that they are dry. Rice the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, butter and cream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Work quickly while the potatoes are hot so they don’t become gummy and starchy. Adjust the salt seasoning to taste and allow the potatoes to cool.

Top the pie: First a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Spoon the mashed potatoes into the bag. Moving in one direction, pipe large rosettes of potatoes over the lamb mixture, in neat rows or around the perimeter of baking dish. Go over your work and pipe rosettes wherever you see any holes-you want to create a good seal. Alternatively, you can dollop the potatoes over the stew and spread them with a spatula to seal it.

Bake the Pie: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the pie on it and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned and filling is bubbling. Let the casserole rest for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie is brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie:

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong, David Hagedorn

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid – I absolutely love this pan! Cooked the stew in it with no problem.

Le Creuset Stoneware 10.5 x 7″ Baking Dish

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

 

 


Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

March 15, 2018

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So today is the Ides of March, but there is nothing to fear here. I’m serving up a bunch of these Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes to anyone who might darken my doorstep!

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That’s right – little individual sized Baileys spiked chocolate cheesecakes topped with Baileys whipped cream and drizzled with an Irish Whiskey laced chocolate. Hmmm…on second thought, perhaps your liver should beware the Ides with all that booze!

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These decadent little devils are rich, creamy and just the perfect serving size. Recently I’m somewhat obsessed with canning jars. Not only are they adorable, but they also make serving folks at any gathering a breeze. No worries with slicing cakes or flimsy serving plates. These supremely portable jars are the way to go!

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Easy to make and even easier to eat, these Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes are a St. Patrick’s Day delight!

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Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 12 - 4 oz. canning jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Irish Baking Adventures

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200 grams Graham Cracker crumbs (you can use Digestive Biscuit crumbs if you like)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

For the Cheesecake filling:

  • 360 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 200 grams melted milk chocolate
  • 120 ml. sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 70 ml Baileys Irish Cream

For the topping:

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 75 gram confectioners sugar
  • 60 ml Baileys
  • 200 grams chocolate, melted – for drizzling
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey (optional – once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Whiskey if desired).

Directions:

Preheat the 325° F (160°C). Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs in the bottom of each jar and pat down firmly to create a crust.

Place the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa in a stand mixer and mix on a low speed until combined.

Add the sour cream, vanilla, melted chocolate and Baileys. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding the next.

Divide the batter evenly between the jars.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or baking dish with sides. Carefully add hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Just before serving, whip cream on high until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and Baileys and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Pipe the whipped topping onto the mini cheesecakes and drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 


Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers

March 14, 2018

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Now here is a St. Patrick’s Day dish for you that is a bit unexpected I’ll bet – Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers. So I won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes and tell you that you’ll find this Asian fusion dish on every table in Ireland come St. Patrick’s Day. But I will say that if you’ve got some lovely corned beef left over from your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations here in the States, these potstickers are great for using up the leftovers in the most wonderfully tasty way.

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As I’ve mentioned in previous years, you won’t really find corned beef on the menu in Ireland come St. Patrick’s Day. Well, I’d say you might now, but know that they’re serving it up specifically for the tourists. It isn’t the traditional holiday meal there. To read all about the history of corned beef and how Americans became corned beef crazed see my blog on Corned Beef Hash from a couple of years ago, which by the way, is also a great dish for using up leftovers. But believe me when I say corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day is an Irish American tradition.

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I found this recipe on the Farmette blog. If you haven’t visited before, you should definitely take a peek. It is basically the diary of Imen McDonnell who moved from the US to an Irish dairy farm, where she now resides with her husband and son. You can find this recipe on her blog along with a story of how shocked she was on her first St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland when she discovered that she was actually in a corned beef free zone. This recipe can also be found in her cookbook: The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm. Imen uses bacon in her version, which I’m sure is also quite delicious!

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The Husband absolutely went wild for these potstickers, declaring them much better than any corned beef and cabbage he had ever eaten. Now I did change a couple of things from Imen’s recipe. I was feeling a bit lazy and didn’t actually make my potsticker wrappers myself. Nope. I went right out to the store and purchased some wonton wrappers, which worked very well. I also cooked them a bit differently and have included my method along with Imen’s. And although I am advocating this recipe as a way to use up leftovers, you really can’t use any leftover cabbage in these. Previously cooked cabbage will be too wet to work well in the filling. You’ll have to reserve a bit of fresh cabbage to use on the day you make these potstickers. Definitely give this recipe a whirl for a fun twist in your St. Patrick’s Day feast.

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Paddy's Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers

  • Servings: 20 medium-sized dumplings / if you use wonton wrappers @40 potstickers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Farmette also featured in the cookbook: The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm by Imen McDonnell

Ingredients:

For the Wrappers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water

*** I actually used store-bought wonton wrappers here due to my extreme slothfulness…

For the filling:

  • 6 ounces cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 cup minced parsley
  • 1/3 pound shredded corned beef, smoked ham (or smoked Irish bacon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water

***egg whites work great here as well

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup scallions (spring onion)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Directions:

Make the wrappers: In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Gradually add the boiling water until the mixture becomes mealy. Switch to the cold water and stir until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a towel and let rest.

Make the filling: Put the cabbage in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes. While it is resting place the ginger, parsley, corned beef, pepper soy sauce, rice wind and sesame oil in a food processor and pulse until it is mixed well. Squeeze the water out of the cabbage and place the dry cabbage into a bowl. Add the pulsed ham mixture and combine.

Make the dumplings: Roll out the dumpling dough and cut our wrappers with a 4-inch round cookie cutter. Sed aside. Mix together the cornstarch and water for the slurry. Take one dumpling wrapper and spoon 1 tablespoon of the ham mixture into the center. (If you are using wonton wrappers, you will likely only be able to spoon 1/2 tablespoon onto the wrapper). Dip one finger (or a small pastry brush) into the slurry and paint the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press the edges together, forming a half-moon shape. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with the rest of the dumplings. Do not allow the dumplings to touch each other on the sheet. Once the dumpling are all assembled, you can cook immediately or refrigerate for up to several hours. When ready to cook, fill a large pot half way with water and bring to a boil. Gently slide 1/3 of the dumplings into the water. Once the water returns to a gently boil simmer for 6 – 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings. Coat a frying pan with oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, fry the dumplings until they are golden on each side.

*** I cooked my potstickers using a different technique. I place a bit of oil in a 10″ skillet and heated it just shy of smoking. I arranged my potstickers in the pan and cooked them until the bottom of them was a golden brown. The I poured 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and covered it with a tightly fitting top. I continued cooking until all of the liquid was gone. The bottoms of the potstickers should be sufficiently browned at that point, but if not, you could leave them in the pan a bit longer.

Make the dipping Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan. Add the scallions and brown rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well and then remove from heat.

Enjoy!

Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potsickers:

The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm by Imen McDonnell

 

 

 


Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

March 13, 2018

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I am so excited about the recipe I have for you today…Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème! Why so excited, besides that fact that I’ve got 2 days of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-palooza done and dusted (only 4 more days to go…)? Well, I am excited about that, but I’m also thrilled because these little treats are quite possibly a game changer for me. Not only were they delicious, and I’m talking a swoon-worthy kind of dessert, but they were so easy to make. I’m serious. No baking. Just a few whrrrr’s of the food processor, a bit of stove top warming and some chill time. And then before I knew it I had these simple yet elegant, boozy, rich, salted caramel chocolatey decadent desserts, ready to be garnished and served.

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Pots de Crème (pronounced Po – think how southerners might pronounce “poor”- de Krehm) are a french custard which dates back to the 17th Century. Traditionally served in little pot shaped dishes (hence their name) or demitasse cups they are usually baked at low heat in a water bath. Their consistency is similar to a chocolate mousse but more dense yet not quite as firm as a flan. But this recipe today is for the new fangled Pots de Crème. As I said…no baking is involved. I’m telling you these little dreams are so easy to make you could do it first thing in the morning, while you’re still sleeping…perhaps before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee (or tea). Well, that might not be true, but they are pretty dang easy.

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However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a couple of really important things you must do to ensure the success of this recipe. First of all, those eggs need to be room temperature. I promise you it will not work if you pull the eggs straight out of the fridge. Easiest thing to do is just set them out the night before. Oh come on! They are not going to go bad sitting out over night! But if this makes you nervous, you can let them soak in a bit of warm water to bring them up to room temperature. Again, I said warm water. Not boiling hot water. You don’t want to cook them at this point. Next important thing to remember is that it needs to be HOT cream, not room temperature and definitely not cream straight out of the fridge. That cream has to melt all the chocolate as well as kill any bacteria that might be in those raw eggs, so don’t mess around. Warm it to just shy of boiling. Put it in the microwave if you must and nuke it…nuke it real good! And finally once you’ve added the very HOT cream, make sure you run the blender long enough that the chocolate is thoroughly melted and uniformly mixed. That is pretty much it. You just pour it into whatever containers you plan to serve it in, leaving plenty of room for the whipped cream and pop them into the fridge. In 3 -4 hours they will be set and ready to serve.

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I made a version of these a few years ago with Baileys and coffee. I was inspired to reboot it this year when I saw that Valhrona had come out with a Salted Caramel Chocolate. I love salted caramel and couldn’t resist doing this recipe over with new ingredients. Valrhona also has these Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls that I used for my topping. I did not see these available on amazon and it looks like Valrhona might only supply Sur la Table with this item. Valrhona also makes a Dulcey white chocolate which has toasty buttery shortbread notes to it. I can see I’ll have to give that a whirl as well. In the meantime, please enjoy these Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème and don’t forget the Baileys whipped topping!

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Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

  • Servings: 6 -10 jars - depending on the size of your jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Valrhona Lait Caramelia
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (possibly more depending on your mood…) Bailey’s Irish Cream, separated
  • 1 cup piping HOT whipping cream
  • an additional 1/2 pint cold heavy whipping cream
  • chocolate shavings or cocoa powder or even fresh fruit, for additional garnish

Directions:

Pour 1 tablespoon (or a bit more if you’re feeling a bit saucy) of Bailey’s Irish cream into the whipping cream and stir. Place into a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until just shy of boiling.

While cream is heating, add chocolate and room temperature eggs (really – I can not stress it enough – not cold out of the fridge, but room temperature eggs) to a blender or food processor and pulse, about 5-6 times, until the chocolate is broken up into small bits. Small folks, try to make it as easy as possible for that cream to work its melting magic.

Once cream/Baileys mixture is hot, with the blender running, slowly stream in the Baileys cream and continue blending until the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 small mason jars, martini glasses, ramekins or tea cups and refrigerate for 3 -4 hours or until set.

Right before serving the pots de crème, add whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining tablespoon (and perhaps a bit more…) of Baileys until well mixed.

Dollop the Baileys whipped cream on top of the pots de creme and serve with chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Enjoy!

Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com) 

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème:

Valhrona Lait Caramelia

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

 

 


Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

March 12, 2018

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I can’t believe it! Here it is, March already. And St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 5 days away! That means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected 106 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point. Yup! I said over one hundred!!! And that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions. I am very excited to kick off this year’s series of Irish recipes with Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.

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You may be thinking “Who’s Theresa?” – well let me tell you. Theresa is one of my best friends from college. She is amazing in the kitchen. I remember back when we were starving students, and practically surviving on buttered toast (and perhaps the occasional pint or two…), we had actually run out of sliced bread. I looked around the kitchen and quickly announced “We’ve got nothing to eat in there.” Theresa popped out to the kitchen and returned in no time with a big plate of warm fluffy lovely scones. Just like that! To me, who definitely was not of any use in the kitchen at that point (all my cooking skills developed post marriage) it was nothing short of magic! A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for these scones and the strawberry jam along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 12 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

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Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing these recipes from her book this year and I shared quite a few last year as well, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

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I’m sure you must now be inspired to make both these tender fluffy scones as well as the divine strawberry jam with which they are topped. Your first step will be making the scrumptious Strawberry Jam. You will end up with a bit more jam than you require to slather over these scones, but it is great to have on hand. It is very versatile and you can use it many other recipes…hint, hint – it might make an appearance again later this week. Strawberry Jam is my favorite and this jam, free of pectin, is just bursting with strawberry goodness.

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And scones…Well, I just love them. With the first bite of these little gems you will understand why they are prize-winning.

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And topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream…I am absolutely over the moon! The Husband loves scones with jam and clotted cream as well. In fact, his first experience with this delicacy was in Dublin, shortly after we were married. As he gobbled down every morsel, I just might have heard him murmur “Where have you been all of my life?!!” And I’m fairly certain he was referring to the scones rather than me.

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As it turns out it recently came to my attention that there is an etiquette to topping your scone. My friend Keela informed me that spreading your scone with the clotted cream first and then dolloping your jam on top is the Devon way, whereas jam first and cream second is the Cornish way. I checked for the Irish method with my friend Theresa and she said butter goes on the scone first the jam and then cream. No one she is aware of puts the cream on first. Hmmm….the good news here is that Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream are pretty heavenly no matter which way the toppings go on. Make up a batch and see for yourself!

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Theresa's Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

  • Servings: 18 dainty scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
  • 450 grams (1 lb.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 110 grams (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • strawberry jam (recipe to follow) and clotted cream for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Beat the eggs in a measuring jug with enough milk to make 300 ml (1/2 pint) of liquid. You will have a little milk left over.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add three-quarters of the liquid and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more liquid or, if wet, add a bit more flour. You should have a soft dough that you can stick your finger through. (Don’t over-handle the dough or the scones will be tough.)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and cut into the desired shape. I use a 5 – cm (2 inch) round cutter usually, but sometimes I cut the dough into squares or diamonds.

Place the scones on a lightly floured baking tray and then brush the top with the remaining egg and milk mixture. This gives them a nice shine and color when they are cooked.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until they are golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Spread with strawberry jam and clotted cream. You can even go crazy and slather the scone with a little butter first before adding the other goodness. The sky is the limit!

Variations:

Add the zest of one lemon to the dry ingredients; or 2 tablespoons of raisins or sultanas; or ground cinnamon and the juice and zest of one orange. For savory scones, leave out the sugar and add herbs or grated cheese.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients: 

  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) Strawberries (hulled and halved if big)
  • Juice of 3 large lemons
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) water
  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) sugar

Directions:

Place a saucer into the refrigerator to chill. You will use it to test the setting point later.

Put the strawberries, lemon juice and the water into a preserving pot and cook over low heat until the juice starts to run from the berries and they begin to soften. Remove the pot from the heat and put it onto a sturdy work surface.

Take a potato masher and squash the strawberries in the pot. You don’t want them completely puréed but you do want them broken up. Give it about six mashes.

Put the pot back onto the stove and continue to cook the fruit over a low heat until the strawberries are completely soft and the juice starts to darken in color.

Add the sugar, stir in well, and cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches settings point. Spoon a little of the boiling preserve onto the cold saucer. Let it cool and then push it with your finger. If it has reached setting point, the top of the blob of jam will wrinkle. You want strawberry jam to be barely set, because if you cook it for too long some of the flavor will be lost.

Pour into warm sterilized jars to within 6 mm (1/4 inch) of the top. Wipe any drips off the rims of the jars to make sure there is a good seal between the jar and lid. A dampened paper towel works well for this. Place lids on and seal.

Enjoy!

Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kilner Stainless Steel Jam Pan

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

 


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