Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

Dec 4, 2013 by

  • Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

  • Looking for a Celtic food stocking stuffer or gift under $25? 

Click the blue links to find treats to satisfy any Celtic gourmand, without putting a dent in your holiday budget

 

1.  Scottish smoked salmon  St. James Scottish Reserve Gravelox- Unsliced Seasoned Smoked Salmon, Cured with Brandy, Fresh Chopped Dill, Salt & Sugar–smoked salmon with capers, cream cheese and cucumber slices are a New Year’s Eve tradition at our home–simple dee-vine!
2.  Irish Breakfast tea  Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea in decorative tin,  30 loose tea bags, no tags or strings.   Bewley’s is an old Irish company that has won numerous awards for its wonderful tea blends.  Their Breakfast Tea  is a deep golden brew that is a long-time favorite of mine.
3. Welsh Sea Salt Jar     Halen Môn Mon Pure Welsh Silver Finishing Sea Salt from Isle of Anglesey, Wales White, crunchy flaky crystals add an extra something to almost any food. Described by Henry Harris (former Head Chef at Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor Restaurant) as ‘…tasting of the cleanest oceans’, Halen Môn is a Soil Association Certified Product.
4. Cornish Gingerbread  Furniss Cornish gingerbreads in traditional old tube. These cookies are made to an original recipe from the company’s founder, John Cooper Furniss, dating back to 1886.   Crunchy, spicy and very, very tasty, it’s a gingerholic’s dream.
5.Breton Crepes  Gavottes Crispy Lace Crepes From France covered in Milk Chocolate–delicate, thin Breton lace crepes by Loc Maria are a fine crispy biscuit that has been made following a French traditional recipe handed down since 1920.  These crepes are covered in a fine layer of gourmet milk chocolate.They are perfect with coffee or tea.

5 Foods For Celts

5 Foods For Celts

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Guinness Chocolate Pudding–Luscious Irish Goodness

Nov 20, 2013 by

The Celtic Holiday Treat of the Day:  Chocolate Guinness Pudding

Chocolate Guinness Pudding Cups

Chocolate Guinness Pudding Cups image: http://bit.ly/I5muLK

 

This easy dessert is luscious Irish goodness designed to look like a glass of Guinness stout, the most famous drink to come from Ireland.  Guinness is an acquired taste, especially for Americans who are not used to drinking the darker, more robust stouts and ales that are popular abroad.  For those of you who don’t usually like the black brew, don’t be put off by the use of Guinness in this recipe– I promise this pudding will win you over to the dark side, at least in desserts, if not drinks.

I adapted this recipe from one I found years ago on Epicurious.com ;  there are several other versions out on the web that are similar.  It makes a perfect Christmas dinner dessert or St Patrick’s Day treat, but it’s so delicious, you may find yourself making this pudding  for any occasion or no occasion at all!   You can serve it in any glass–martini, half pint Mason jars, old fashioneds, etc– but it really looks cute in half pint glasses, if you have them.  I found a nice set on Amazon.com: British Half Pint Beer Glass – 10 oz – Set of 12  You’ll need six glasses for a single batch of the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
8 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
One 14.9-ounce can Guinness Draught or Extra-Stout
3 cups heavy cream
7 ounces high-quality bittersweet (70 to 72% cacaoor higher, to taste) chocolate, finely chopped( I like Green & Black’s Organic brand, but any high quality, bittersweet chocolate will do)
1-3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted(depending on taste)

In large mixing bowl (copper or glass, preferably chilled), whisk together egg yolks and 1 cup sugar.

Open the can of Guinness and SLOWLY pour the contents into a 4-cup measuring cup–tilt the cup at a slight angle as you pour the stout down the side of the cup to reduce foaming.  If you’re  a Celt, you probably already know how to pour a proper pint, but  non-Guinness drinkers might need this little tip about how to reduce the foam.

Pouring a Guinness Properly--It's All in the Tilt.

Pouring a Guinness Properly–It’s All in the Tilt.

After it settles for a minute or so, pour half of the Guinness (about 7/8 cup) into a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan( I have also used enamel-coated cast iron, like Chantal or LeCreuset ). Add 2 1/4 cups cream and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently ( but not continuously), until bubbles just begin to form at edges. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

SLOWLY pour a thin stream of the hot chocolate mixture into eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling–this process is called tempering.   If you pour too fast, you’ll scramble the eggs and have to start over from scratch–a big ol’ waste of time, Guinness and chocolate. Return the mixture to saucepan and set over a moderately low heat–everyone’s stove heats differently, so I recommend you start on low heat and move up if needed.  If you scorch the mixture, you’ll have to throw it out.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon(it should not run off spoon); this process usually takes at least 15 minutes. The pudding will look separated–don’t worry.

Pour the pudding into a blender or food processor and blend on high for 1 minute. Divide pudding among  the glasses, leaving at least 1 inch of space at top of each for the whipped topping.  Cover each glass with plastic wrap (push the wrap right against the top of pudding to keep “skin” from forming on the pudding) and refrigerate until chilled and set.

Guinness Chocolate Pudding Topped With Guinness Whipped Cream

Guinness Chocolate Pudding Topped With Guinness Whipped Cream

While the pudding is chilling, pour the remaining Guinness into small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until the Guinness is reduced to 1 tablespoon, which takes about 20 minutes. What you’re looking for is a lovely stout syrup, with the consistency of honey, in a deep amber-black color.   Pour this reduction syrup into small bowl and let it cool. Do not be tempted to eat it. You could make your own little batch, if you want, maybe add a little sugar, choco–but I digress.

Next come the whipped topping for the pudding,  the crown jewel of this recipe.  I prefer the topping to be sweet, but I know others who prefer a non-sweet topping that imparts the full, slightly bitter taste of the Guinness. I listed the powdered sugar component as 1-3 tablespoons so that you can decide how you’d like the topping to taste–use all of the sugar(asI do) if you want it sweet, or zero to one tablespoons if you prefer a little bite to the topping.    Beat the remaining cream and whatever amount of powdered sugar you choose until soft peaks form.   Add the Guinness syrup and fold in until combined.   Top each glass of pudding with a dollop of cream and serve.

Tips:
~The higher the cacoa content of the chocolate, the more you’ll taste it, rather than the Guinness.
~Do NOT substitute half and half for heavy whipping cream–the pudding and topping won’t set up correctly.
~ You can omit the sugar from the whipped topping, but as I noted above,  it will be slightly bitter. The pudding is so rich, some people think the slightly bitter topping compliments it well, but you can decide based on your own tastes. Some folks like just plain whipped cream–no sweetener, no flavoring–or pre-made toppings such as Cool-Whip or Redi-Whip.

~I usually sprinkle a pinch of cocoa powder, espresso powder and/or ground cinnamon on top of the whipped cream; for St Patrick’s Day serving, I recommend green candy or sugar sprinkles.

~ You could substitute Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur for the Guinness syrup in the whipped topping.  If you do, just use one tablespoon of the sugar because Bailey’s is already fairly sweet.

~ because the pudding is so rich, you can use smaller glasses and divide it into 8-10 servings.

Making Guinness Chocolate Pudding

Making Guinness Chocolate Pudding image: http://bit.ly/1bDDJLa

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