There are two drinks that we go through in unholy quantities this time of year. The first without question is rum, as it is used in all kinds of preserves, baking, and cocktails. The second is Irish cream, consumed on its own, or diluted with a bit of milk or coffee.
For years my standby has been Bailey’s, but this year I decided to make my own.
Irish cream is comprised of cream, sugar, and Irish whiskey, usually but not always flavoured with coffee. It is around 20% alcohol by volume, and has a rich, viscous mouthfeel. It’s basically an Irish coffee with the ingredients in different proportions.
If you plan on consuming Irish cream in coffee, there’s probably not … Continue reading.
…I have drugg’d their possets
That death and nature do contend about them
Whether they live or die.
-Lady MacBeth, in the Scottish play (fitting, no?)
Posset is an old British drink of cream curdled with sack (fortified wine) or ale. Nowadays the term usually refers to sweetened cream curdled so that it sets like a custard.
During the years in which the liquid version was declining in popularity and the solid version was rising, the term “posset” on its own was ambiguous. Qualifiers were added for clarity, resulting in terms like “rich eating posset.”
Anyways, this is one of the simplest desserts to make. I often serve it at Burns Suppers with shortbread cookies. The idea is to … Continue reading.
Today was devoted to playing with the simple formula (dairy) + (heat) + (acid) = (fresh cheese), that is, changing the dairy, acid, and amount of heat to manipulate the taste and texture of the finished cheese.
Mascarpone, the most mispronounced of all Italian cheeses, is made from whole cream, and is usually curdled with lemon juice or straight citric acid. My recipe from the Culinary Institute of America’s Garde Manger, Third Edition,called for tartaric acid (available at brewing supply stores), the taste of which took a distant backseat to the rich, buttery flavour of the cream.
- 1.92L heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp tartaric acid
Here are some brusque instructions. Heat cream to 80°C. Stir to prevent burning. Remove … Continue reading.
Crème fraîche is similar to sour cream. In fact, they are made by the same process: inoculating dairy with a bacterial culture that converts lactose to lactic acid, which in turn coagulates the proteins in the dairy and thickens the mixture.
The main difference between the two products is that crème fraîche is cultured whole cream (about 30% milk fat) while sour cream is made from leaner dairy products (usually about 15% fat). The added fat in crème fraîche gives it two advantages over sour cream. First, it has a more luxurious texture. Second, the fat tempers the acidity, making for a subtler and more rounded flavour.
Making Crème Fraîche at Home
Fresh dairy naturally contains the bacteria that would, … Continue reading.
I think as children most of us were taken to historical sites like Fort Edmonton to learn how the settlers made wool and horseshoes and butter. Even so, I’ll start at the beginning.
You make butter by agitating cream.
It works like this. The fat in cream is in tiny globs, each covered with a membrane that prevents the fat globs from joining together. When you agitate cream, you break these coverings, releasing the fat globs, which all rush out to join their fatty brethren and form a solid mass of butter.
To commence butter-production, fill your container half way with heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt, secure the lid, and start shaking. You don’t have to strain yourself, … Continue reading.