Monday, December 22, 2014

Any excuse | Mince pie spiced Irish cream and Salted caramel & chestnut Irish cream

We take our Christmas drinking seriously in my family. Champagne for breakfast (naturally), wine with Christmas lunch, a gin and tonic later on as we're settling in to play a board game, and then, at some point, my Dad will offer to make a round of Irish coffees. Always. The only acceptable excuse for declining is because you're still full from the second helping of sticky toffee pudding, and even then, you've got to pull your socks up really.

So it comes as a surprise to no-one that many of the presents for my family are alcoholic - for one thing, they make an excellent addition to the 'Now Drink This' game we get going every NYE, and for another - it's incredibly simple to make your own liqueur. It's even simpler to make your own Irish cream [ie knockoff but much tastier Bailey's].

If you haven't had the foresight to have prepped months in advance [*cough* unlike some people], then this is a perfect gift to whip up in the next couple of days. It's made with things you can buy from the supermarket, it takes 30 minutes max, and it tastes delicious.  I'm re-thinking this whole giving-things-away deal. 

For the recipe for mince pie spiced Irish cream [!] and salted caramel & chestnut Irish cream [!!],  just scroll down. 

For the people who are all "huh? where's the music?", hold your horses - I'm posting again tomorrow with Christmas playlists to suit all tastes. As long as they match my own.

Frank Sinatra - I Believe

Mince Pie Irish Cream (makes around 800ml)

- Whiskey -  1 & 2/3 cups / 13oz / 400ml
- Double cream (or a mix of double and single) - 1 cup / 8 oz / 240ml
- 1 can of condensed milk (around 14oz I think)
- 2 tbsps chocolate syrup
- 1 tsp coffee essence (i.e. Camp) or 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- One lemon (unwaxed)
- One orange (unwaxed)
- 1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5-10 seconds of furiously grating a nutmeg

  • Use a vegetable peeler to peel some of the skin off the orange and lemon - you don't need all of it, just peel off big chunks, making sure you don't get the pith.
  • Add the peel to the cream and heat over a low heat until the cream starts to simmer. Then turn off the heat and allow this to cool and infuse for anything from 15 minutes up until you get antsy (around 1 hour).
  • In a big blender, sieve the cream and blend with all of the other ingredients. 
  • That's it. Seriously. Taste and add more chocolate syrup or spices, or even more alcohol if you're that way inclined. Then pour into a clean jar or bottle with an airtight lid and keep in the fridge for up to 2 months. 

Salted Caramel & Chestnut Irish Cream (makes around 800ml)
Yes I just realised I spelled chestnut wrong on the bottle. Here's hoping no-one else notices.

- Whiskey - 1 2/3 cups / 13oz / 400ml
- Double cream (or a mix of double and single) - 1 cup / 8oz / 240ml
- 1 can of condensed milk (around 14oz)
- Caster or granulated sugar - 1/4 cup / 70g
- A good pinch of flaked sea salt
- 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
- 1 tsp coffee essence (i.e. Camp) or 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chestnut puree

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar over a medium flame until it's caramelised and a toasty brown. Try not to stir it, but swirl it about if you think it might burn. Once it's hit the right colour, take it off the heat and stir in the cream and salt. If you find you end up with hard, solid caramel and separated cream, don't worry (it happens to me all the time), just stir it patiently over a low heat until it's all melted together. Plus, you'll be blending it so it'll all come together one way or another.
  • Aaaand then blend it with the other ingredients. Blend all of it. Blend it for a good minute or so, and then then taste and adjust to your palate. Pour into a clean, airtight jar/bottle and store in the fridge for 2 months.

Enjoy! And please tell me if you end up making either of them!

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