With St. Patrick’s Day here again, we see a resurgence of Irish desserts in our favourite places. We have some traditional desserts and not so traditional ones! These include tea cakes, cheesecakes, fudge, and also soda bread. Let’s learn more about Saint Patrick himself and the foods used to honour the holiday.
Kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was 16, the young Saint Patrick was forced to work as a shepherd. He developed his relationship with God, eventually converting to Christianity, and escaping back to England. Here, he continued his religious studies before returning to Ireland and eventually converting thousands.
We see shamrocks everywhere during the month of March because Saint Patrick used them to demonstrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. That is, three persons in one God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On this day, we see international celebrations of all Irish-related things. We also see a variety of Irish themed food and drinks.
The most popular of all the food and drink items has to be Guinness. This is a dark Irish beer that lends itself well to a variety of desserts. Already noted in our stout desserts post, it sits in the stout and porter family. In other words, a group of beers with a low level of carbonation that helps to give an extra lift to any baked goods. The beer is useful in bringing out flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and also caramel. This is perfect for dessert lovers. What’s more, Guinness can even be used in icings and fudges!
Another Irish drink that works perfectly with Irish desserts is Irish cream. This is a fragrant liqueur based on Irish whiskey, cream, and sometimes other flavourings. The most famous is Baileys, which is available in flavours like mint chocolate, salted caramel, and strawberries and cream. There’s also an option for red velvet cake and apple pie flavoured Irish cream. While these flavours may skip the more “traditional desserts” taste, the original still remains a popular choice for cheesecakes, parfaits, mousses, and puddings. We can even find the liqueur baked into fresh bundt cakes and cookies.
However, it’s not all puddings and cakes. Another Irish food that can feature heavy at this time of year is soda bread. This is a type of quick bread that uses bicarb soda instead of yeast as the leavening agent. It can be flavoured with treacle, walnuts, and herbs. The traditional sweetened version includes caraway seeds and raisins. Buttermilk is another common ingredient that helps to make it moist and crumbly. However, some recipes replace the buttermilk with yogurt or, turning full circle, stout like Guinness! Guinness with the main and Guinness with the dessert suits us just fine.
Respecting the old Irish proverb, “Talk doesn’t fill the stomach”, so let us direct you to some local Irish desserts this holiday. Whether you opt for one of the traditional desserts, or something newer,