Monday, April 11, 2011
Brian Bóru's Delight
What is a fool, you ask? It doesn't sound familiar to most modern diners—in fact, my pastry instructor in culinary school didn't immediately know how to explain the Fool to my class. A fool, simply put, is a fruit-flavored whipped cream. It's sort of a precursor to the modern churned ice cream, as it is light, airy, and sweet, but not frozen (as churn-freezing ice cream is a relatively recent development.) Heavy cream is whipped to stiff peaks, and then a purée of fruit, often sweetened, is added in by folding gently. In this recipe, I replaced the purée with fruit preserves, because it's hard to find blackcurrant purée (or indeed, much of anything from blackcurrants) here in Michigan.
Bread pudding is a more familiar item, and in this case I've used a simple white bread, good quality butter, and raisins with a little twist suggested by my friend Brian over at The Boychik Balabusta (a blog you ought to read)—soaking the raisins in Irish Breakfast Tea and whiskey.
24 oz (680 g) blackcurrant preserves
2 1/2 cups (591 ml) heavy cream
1. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold in preserves. Test for sweetness, and add sugar if necessary.
2. Portion into serving dish(es) or hold in a bowl, and refrigerate until service.
Yields about 1 quart/1 liter of fool, give or take.
Bread and Butter Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
16 slices white bread, buttered
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) golden raisins
1 cup (237 ml) brewed Irish Breakfast Tea
1/4 cup (60 ml) Irish Whiskey
1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) caster sugar
4 eggs, large
2 1/2 cups ( light cream
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
light brown sugar, for sprinkling top
1 1/4 cups butter
1 cup caster sugar
3 oz (90 ml) Irish Whiskey
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the crusts from the bread and put four slices, buttered side down, in the base of an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with the fruit, some of the nutmeg, and 1 tbsp sugar.
2. Place the remaining four slices of bread on top, buttered side down, and sprinkle again with nutmeg and 1 tbsp sugar.
3. Beat the eggs lightly, add the cream, milk, vanilla, and the remaining sugar; mix well to make a custard. Pour half this mixture over the bread, and sprinkle light muscovado sugar over the top, if you like to have a crispy crust. Repeat steps 1-3 for the second pan of pudding (8 more slices of bread.)
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the pudding is risen and brown.
5. While the pudding is baking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy pan, add the caster sugar, and dissolve over gentle heat. Remove from the heat and add the egg, whisking vigorously, and then add the whiskey.
6. Serve the pudding immediately when it is done—it will be light and fluffy, and will fall quickly if it is not served.
Two pans, which is anywhere from two to twenty-four servings, depending on your level of gluttony.
This sauce is incredible—it appears to be broken and failed, and then you add the whiskey, and poof! It comes together perfectly.
As you can see, the dessert was quite popular. There were no fights, but there might have been had I run out of anything.