Ireland: Sure, it’s the nation of good Guinness and soda bread, scones and stew, but it’s also got briny native oysters and excellent dairy. (Maybe it’s that lush grass the cows are eating, as Allie, the blogger behind “Baking a Moment” surmises: “When I tell you that every morsel I tasted in Ireland completely knocked my socks off, know that this was all owed to Irish dairy.”)
How is your traditional Irish food encyclopedia? Ever heard of “Waterford Blaas,” a doughy white bread bun specialty from Waterford and County Kilkenny? Or Northern Ireland “Fifteens,” a popular no-bake traybake in which you need 15 each of three main ingredients including digestive biscuits, marshmallows and glacé cherries. Turns out Irish people today are as likely to dig into smoked salmon over brunch as they are black pudding (blood sausage) or colcannon (mashed potatoes and cabbage). We took a trip in early February of this year to the island of Ireland —see the video below!—where we ate griddled soda bread in Northern Ireland, near Belfast.
Here are a few delicious recipes from five top-notch bloggers who recently joined us on an Ireland trip hosted by our friends at Tourism Ireland (enter here to win a trip) and Bake From Scratch magazine. The verdant sights and delicious eats inspired these recipes. If you’re inclined to try their marvelous recipes, be sure to tag them with and #AuthenticIreland and @WilliamsSonoma!
Alice Choi of Hip Foodie Mom rejoiced in the buttery, fluffy scones she found all over Ireland. Her recipe employs a technique Alice learned at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is to not overmix the scone dough for lighter, fluffier results. Inspiration for the savory flavors came from Irish specialties sampled along the way, from chef JP McMahon’s cheese scones at his Galway café, Tartare, to O’Connell Fishmonger’s smoked salmon on the Cork Tasting Trail.
Traditional Irish soda bread (free from caraway seeds, currants and raisins) makes a cameo in this genius Irish Coffee Soda Bread Pudding from Kayla Howey of The Original Dish. Inspiration for the dense pudding came from a particularly memorable Irish coffee she enjoyed in Galway city. Imagine a knockout bread pudding made from fluffy soda bread, drizzled with Irish whiskey caramel (!) and strewn with cream. That’s this dish. Epic.
Allie of Baking a Moment quickly noticed that buttery, crumb-topped apple tarts made cameos all over Ireland, but especially at Kylemore Abbey located along the Wild Atlantic Way. Hers is a nod to some of the best she tried overseas. Redolent of Calvados (apple brandy) and a touch of apple jelly, these feature crisp Granny smiths baked into an easy tartlet pan. Bring them to a party, then sit back and wait for people to ask where you bought them!
“In the beautiful lounge at Castlemartyr Hotel & Resort,” recalls Zoë François of Zoe Bakes, “we were served a White Knight cocktail (think of the Irish version of a White Russian).” It had, she remembers, “layers of whiskey and a tall pour of perfect Irish heavy cream.” That was the inspiration for the frosting in her gorgeous layer cake, in which two out of three layers feature smooth Irish whiskey, and the third, Guinness! The whole thing is bound together with plenty of chocolate and cream. It is inspired by a similar cake enjoyed at The Pepper Pot cafe in Dublin and is pure charm in dessert form.
When Kylie Mazon-Chambers of Cooking with Cocktail Rings sat down to dinner in the dining room of Castlemartyr in Cork, a basket of interesting-looking tomato bread immediately caught her eye. Once home in America, she set to work—employing the soda bread technique she learned at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland’s Ancient East to create her own rendition of the recipe. She slathers her zesty tomato-flecked dinner rolls with plenty of fried shallot butter, then partners them with an Irish whiskey cocktail or draft Guinness stout. Perfection!
This post is proudly produced in partnership with Tourism Ireland. Enter here for a chance to win your own authentic Ireland trip for 2 people! See more from our trip in the new Authentic Ireland issue of Bake From Scratch magazine.