St. Patrick’s Day Baking!

Luke St. Pats

Happy St. Patty’s Day to you from our little leprechaun!  Tonight we are going over to a friend’s home to celebrate for dinner and I am in charge of bread and dessert.  Which is always a fun thing to be in charge of!  The bread has to be Irish Soda.  I love it.  Who wouldn’t like currants, orange zest and caraway seeds imbedded in a delicious carbohydrate?  I saw this recipe on Whipped from Grand Central Bakery and had to try it out.  Very easy, and I think pretty tasty, but more scone like than bread like.  Can that be a negative?  Not really, just different.  I’ll let you know what the others think tonight.

Irish Soda Bread

St. Pat’s Day dessert leaves lots of room for interpretation.  Do I make something laden with green food coloring?  (Ick.)  Do I make something non-Irish and add festive sprinkles?  (Boring.)  Do I try for something made with Irish ingredients, like potatoes?  Hmm… Or Irish Cream?!

In general, if there is an excuse for me to play around with pate a choux then I will find it.  So tonight, we dine on corned beef and Eclairs?!?!  That’s right!  Eclairs with Irish Cream creme!  A dessert that uses puff pastry and the word cream AND creme… Irish?  Marginal.  Delicious? Definitely!

If you have never made a profiterole, an eclair, a gougere, then friend, get to your stovetop and start stirring.  Pate a choux, or puff pastry dough is simple to make, and it will make you look like a rockstar.  You boil some butter, milk, water and salt on the stovetop, add some flour and stir for a couple of minutes until the dough pulls away from the pan.  Then you add some eggs either off the heat or in a stand-mixer. I have done it both ways and it doesn’t matter either way, but I guess I prefer just off heat by hand since that is one less giant bowl to clean up after.  Scoop it into a piping bag, make dots, squiggles, lines, your name, whatever and bake.  If this is your maiden voyage into puff then I would recommend watching by the light of your oven, because it is pretty darn cool to see the oven puff those babies up!  Let them cool off, or eat them hot, who cares!

In my case I am letting them cool, slitting them open with a serrated knife and filling them with Irish Cream creme and then topping them with a ribbon of chocolate frosting.  Mmm.  Maybe I’ll add a green sprinkle or two to up the “Irish.”

Irish Cream Creme Eclair

Recipes:

Pate a Choux: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 2010, Makes 20 Mini Eclairs

Ingredients:

1/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. water

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 t. course salt

1/2 c. all purpose flour

2 large eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.  I was able to fit them all on one sheet easily.  Bring milk, water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat, and stir in flour.  Return to heat, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl of a mized fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix n medium speed to cool slightly, about 1 minute.  With machine running, add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2- inch round tip.  (I didn’t use a tip, I just cut the end of the plastic bag to the size opening I wanted because I hate cleaning them.)

2. Pipe 20 2 1/2- inch long eclairs onto each sheet.  Bake until they rise and are golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.  Mine cooked up in about 17 -18 minutes, so keep an eye on them.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

3. Fill and decorate!

Irish Cream Creme

Ingredients:

1- 8.8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. Irish Cream Liquor

1 c. heavy whipping cream

Directions:

1. Mix mascarpone cheese and sugar together until light and the sugar is dissolved with the paddle attachment of your stand-mixer.  You can check to make sure this has occurred by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers.  If it is gritty, keep mixing.

2. Add Irish Cream and whip until the mixture is light and has soft peaks, about 5 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until you reach stiff peaks, being careful not to over-whip because you will end up with gritty cream.

4. Fold the whipped cream into the Irish Cream and cheese mixture.

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