Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Real Irish Dessert

Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.  Every year, when friends - both local and online - start talking about all their green food for St. Patrick's Day, I start jumping up and down and shouting, "That's Not Irish!!!!!"  My Irish Grandmother never made a green pie, green cake or green mousse for dessert.  My half German mother may have slipped green jello onto the table, but that's another story.

Bailey's Irish Cream, often used in "authentic" Irish desserts, wasn't even invented until the 1970's.  Creme de Menthe is a French liqueur.  And limes and other citrus grow much better in tropical climes than they do on the Isle of Erin

What are traditional are more basic, earthy, homey treats.  Bread Pudding, Seed Cake, Apple Cake. Oh yes,  Apple Cake!  But of course, I wanted to gussie it up and modernize it a bit.  I found a fabulous recipe in The Irish Spirit by Margaret M. Johnson.  The cake was perfect, but the sauce was more caramel than toffee, and I was really looking for a deep toffee flavor.

Many of the old timers from the food message boards have seen the standard by which all other toffee recipes are measured.  Marilyn's Toffee is is the ultimate candy, but I wanted a sauce.  So I referred to Cookaholics for Marilyn's candy recipe, then added cream to turn it into a sauce.  This is the dessert you have to make on St. Patraig's Day.  This is really Eire on a plate.

 Recipe after the jump...


Irish Apple Cake

The perfect traditional ending to your St. Patrick's Day dinner!

Roasted Apples
8 Granny Smith apples
2 lemons, juiced
2/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup  slivered almonds
1½ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened to 68°
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup sour cream or creme fraiche
¼ cup apple cider

¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
½ cup heavy cream

Roasted Apples

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Butter a large baking dish.
3. Peel & core the apples, and cut each into 12 wedges.
4. Place in the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkled with the lemon juice and sugar, and dot with butter.
5. Bake, turning frequently, 15 or 20 minutes, or until apples are tender when pierced with a knife.
6. Remove from the oven, drain off the juices, and set aside to cool.


1. Butter a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.  Sprinkle with the almonds.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, soda & salt.
3. In a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until smooth.
5. With a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, the vanilla, creme fraiche & cider.


1. Arrange half of the apples nicely in the bottom of the prepared pan.
2. Roughly chop the remaining apples and stir into the batter.
3. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 70 to 80 minutes, until a skewer in the center comes out clean.
4. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before releasing the sides and inverting the cake onto a plate.
5. Top with part of the toffee sauce, and pass the rest on the side.

Toffee Sauce

1. Crush almonds slightly into small pieces, and set aside.
2. Melt butter in tall saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Slowly stir in sugar.
4. Add water.
5. When sugar is completely dissolved, add the almond pieces and insert a candy thermometer.
6. Continue to cook until deep golden and the temperature reached 310° - hard crack stage.
7. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the cream.  This will boil up, so it's best to do it over the sink.
8. Set aside to cool a bit.

1 comment:

  1. This is a marvelous recipe! I made it for a local Slow Food Benefit dinner. Thank you!