keeping peace with Irish Coffee

I had an enjoyable afternoon tea with fellow Create TV host and Ireland’s TV chef, cookbook author Rachael Allen of Ballymaloe. Rachel and I exchanged our foodie stories and the like beginnings in our culinary careers. She shared with me her simplistic approach to food. I can't agree more. We agree that most are learning from this approach; getting back to the roots of growing and eating locally grown foods. The thing is, this in nothing new in Ireland, in fact they never lost their connection to sustainability. 

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Chefs Rachael Allen and George Hirsch, Adair Manor, Adair Co. Limerick, Ireland However, one topic of discussion is as serious as rugby or politics. I asked just about every person I meet in Ireland which brand of tea they preferred better, Lyons or Barry's. Barry's seemed to hold the lead during our filming. But then upon departure at Irish Customs I was told I was bringing home the wrong brand. They preferred Lyons. I can't be swayed, Barry's fan here.

So in keeping peace let’s drink Irish Coffee, a warming beverage on a chilly evening. Served first to arriving passengers in County Limerick, what is now Shannon International Airport. Ideal served with a slice of Chocolate Torta from George Hirsch Lifestyle. Sláinte! 

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Irish Coffee

Makes one serving

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey

1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream

1/2 cup hot strong coffee

Lemon wedge

Sugar to coat glass

Whipped cream

Prepare a sugar-rimmed glass by rubbing a piece of lemon or orange around the rim of a large wine glass. Dip 1/4 inch of the rim of the glass into a plate of sugar, coating the edge.

Place a teaspoon in glass. The spoon will diffuse the heat when hot coffee is poured into the glass. 

Add whiskey and Baileys. Pour coffee into glass over spoon. Remove spoon. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

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If you are planning to entertain this week or happen to be traveling to visit friends - I have the perfect host/hostess bring-along, or an outstanding dessert with wide appeal to finish a dinner. I created this recipe knowing it would be one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked.

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Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Makes one large loaf, or three demi-loaves

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (15 oz container) fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained

1 1/2 cups Turbino or granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until smooth and light. Fold in ricotta in three parts. Scrape bowl well with a spatula. Mix dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar and mix just until flour is absorbed with eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla. 

Scrape down sides of the bowl, mix on low speed, 30 seconds just until batter is completely mixed. Do not over mix. Over mixing will toughen cake and produce air pockets. Pour the batter into greased pan and smooth on top. Once pan is filled with batter, tap pan against table or counter to remove air pockets.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. After 40 minutes, lower to 325 degrees until done. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan; finish cooling on wire rack. Top with confectioner’s sugar before serving.