Irish dessert is all about transforming high quality, seasonal farm ingredient into satisfying sweets. One local ingredient, Irish moss, comes not from the farm but the island’s seashore. While it isn’t what you would expect to associate with dessert, the top Irish treat to try for St. Patrick’s Day 2019 is Irish moss pudding.
Mint flavored recipes, for their green glow, are also good dessert ideas for St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Guinness and whiskey inspired desserts are perfect for parties, too. In areas where rhubarb is available, the holiday and this favorite Irish dessert ingredient time well.
Irish Moss Pudding
You don’t have to be on Ireland’s seashore to make Irish moss pudding. You can buy the moss online, which is a natural coagulant and gelatin substitute. Carrageen is the Irish word for the moss and means “little rock” in Gaelic. It grows on rocks at the low tide line.
Follow this recipe from the Ballymaloe House in County Cork, Ireland. Serves 4 – 6.
1 semi-closed fistful (5g) cleaned, well dried Carrageen Moss
1 1/2 pints (900ml/3 3/4 cups) milk – use 1/2 and 1/2 in America
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) castor sugar
1 egg, preferably free range
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or a vanilla pod
Soak the carrageen in tepid water for 10 minutes. Strain off the water and put the carrageen into a saucepan with milk and vanilla pod if using.
Bring to the boil and simmer very gently with the lid on for 20 minutes. At that point and not before separate the egg, put the yolk into a bowl, add the sugar and vanilla essence and whisk together for a few seconds, then pour the milk and carrageen moss through a strainer onto the egg yolk mixture whisking all the time. The carrageen will now be swollen and exuding jelly.
Rub all this jelly through the strainer and whisk this also into the milk with the sugar, egg yolk and vanilla essence if using. Whisk the egg white stiffly and fold or “fluff” it in gently. It will rise to make a fluffy top. Chill the pudding in the serving dish for several hours until set.
Serve chilled with dark soft brown sugar, cream and a fruit compote e.g. poached rhubarb in late spring or plum or apple and blackberry compote in Autumn.
Irish Soda Bread Pudding, Boozy Desserts, & More
Rhubarb is in season during St. Patrick’s Day in various parts of the world including the US midwest (and Ireland). Many Rhubarb desserts are not too heavy to serve midday.
Soda bread is the quintessential Irish bread, making Irish soda bread pudding a must try dessert. Start by making a loaf of soda bread, then magically turn it into dessert.
Want to keep it simple? Just use green flavors: mint, pistachio, or key lime for a green tablescape fit for St. Patrick’s Day 2019.