Erin go yum
From three-time James Beard winner Judith Choate comes St. Patrick’s Day favorites — Irish soda bread with freshly whipped butter and homemade blackberry-brandy jam.
Jams can be found in Choate’s book, “The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles;” her other recipes are in “A Reader's Cookbook,” both by Red Rock Press.
Irish Soda Bread with Homemade Whipped Butter
Makes 1 loaf.
2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup dried currants
— Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk and, using your hands, pull the dry ingredients up and into the milk, mixing until well blended. Add the currants and continue mixing until they are well-distributed throughout the dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Generously flour a clean, flat work surface. Scrape the dough out onto the floured surface and, using your hands, work the dough into a neat round shape. Turn it over and pat it out to about 2-inches in thickness.
Transfer the round to the prepared baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, make a cross in the center of the loaf.
Place the bread in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the top.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before cutting. Serve just barely warm with butter, and jam if you wish.
Homemade Whipped Butter
Makes about 1 cup.
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup ice water
2 large ice cubes
Salt to taste, optional
— Place the cream in a blender. Cover and whip at the highest speed. When cream is whipped, add the ice water and ice. Cover and again whip at the highest speed for at least 2 minutes or until all of the cream has turned into butter particles.
Pour the contents of the blender into a fine mesh sieve to drain. When all of the liquid has drained off, transfer the butter to a small bowl. If using, add the salt and knead it in with a wooden spoon.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Black Brandy Jam
Makes 4 (1/2 pint) jars*
Preserving Method: Open kettle.
Storage: Vacuum-sealed, 1 year; refrigerated, 4 weeks.
4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup blackberry brandy
— Combine blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Raise heat and cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes. Add brandy. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and skim off foam with metal spoon. Immediately pour into hot sterilized jars and vacuum seal.
*If jam is not for immediate use, follow USDA sealing and storage guidelines.