Saturday, 16 March 2013

St Patricks Day Soda Bread and Pistachio Cupcakes

Happy St Patricks Day! Coming from an Irish family, we celebrate in a wonderful way... with food of course! In this case, bread. 
When I think of Ireland, I think of my Grandad, potatoes, green shamrocks, Mrs Brown's Boys and Leprechauns of course. But when I think of Irish food, my bread brain always thinks of soda bread. However, other countries have there own claim on the soda bread, but its mainly associated with Ireland. 
The Plain Soda Bread I made in pastry class.
My Grandad, (aka Gramps) is your typical, stereotypical Irish man and so he has to share his memories with me constantly. He told me that his granmother (my great-great granmother) would make her soda bread with currents to make it sweet. 
When I told him that I would be publishing a soda bread, which you can add cheese to. 
He looked mortified. 
So in this recipe, you can add currents or cheese and a little paprika (Just don't tell my Gramps!)

Ingredients: (Recipe Inspired by my Gramps and My patisserie tutor Faye)
·       300g Strong Flour
·       4g bicarbonate of soda
·       15g baking powder
·       15g Sugar
·       4g Salt
·       30g Unsalted butter
·       210ml buttermilk
(Add about 75g currents or 80g of a cheese of your choice with a pinch of paprika but this is optional)

·       Sieve
·       Bowl
·       Jug
·       Baking sheet covered with silicone paper

Great with cheese or currents baked in it.
    1.    Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
    2.    Rub the butter into the mix until it resembles breadcrumbs
    3.    Make a well in centre and add most of the buttermilk but not all of it. Only add the last part if it’s too dry.
    4.    Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. (Add the currents or cheese at this stage)
    5.    Turn out onto the table and knead until the stickiness has gone. Mould into a round and place on a baking sheet.
    6.    Make a cross with a very sharp knife almost cutting all the way through. Dust with a little flour.
    7.    Leave to rest in a proofer for 10 minutes then put into a hot oven 230c/450f/ Gas Mark 8 then turn the oven down and finish cooking for 25 minutes.
   8.    When cooked, it should appear golden brown and sound hollow when tapped when tapped on the bottom. 

    The next recipe is not traditional, in fact when I saw it, I went: “Huh, this is erm.. different? At least it's green.
     In fact, I didn't think it would work! But the saltiness of the pistachios contrasted with the sweetness of the icing. It is a combination that will make your tastebuds dance a little Irish jig! 

    Recipe: Pistachio Cupcakes Makes About 16 (Adapted from Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman)
·       150g plain flour
·       1 teaspoon baking powder
·       1 teaspoon salt
·       190g unsalted butter, softened
·       150g dark brown sugar
·       3 eggs
·       1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
·       125ml natural yogurt
·       150g salted pistachios, roughly chopped

       Recipe: Green Icing
·       20g unsalted butter, softened
·       4 tablespoons hot milk
·       220g icing sugar
·       2 drops of Peppermint flavouring
·       Green food colouring paste (I used Gooseberry Green)
·       Green sugar
·       Gold and green glitter or other decorations.
·       Knife
·       Chopping board
·       Bowl x3
·       12 hole muffin tray filled with cupcake cases x2
·       Electric whisk/handheld whisk
·       Scales
·       Spoons
·       Small palette knife

1.    Preheat oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4
2.    Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3.    Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and add vanilla. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the yoghurt. Fold in the pistachios.
4.    Spoon batter into cupcake cases, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Green icing was used to top the cupcakes
5.    For the icing: Mix the butter and milk together in a large bowl. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until the icing is of a good spreading consistency. (You may need to add a little more milk depending on how runny you want your icing, but it should but thick but spreading).
6.    Add the food colouring and the peppermint flavouring, mix well and spread on cooled cupcakes. Decorate as desired. (Glitter and tried to do some shamrocks.)

Have a Happy St Patricks Day and Bake On!

Bake On! Penny x
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