Now the way in which I am supposed to run this website is as follows: I get booked for my monthly radio slot, I create a bake and put it on my website then I go talk about it on air. Because I am a procrastinating bugger though, it very rarely works out this way!
Now I have that confession out of the way, allow me to introduce you to my week-out-of-date recipe I created for the St Patrick’s Day special show that was on BBC Radio Nottingham on the 17/3/2017.
When first challenged with creating a recipe to celebrate this most famous of Irish holidays I found myself hitting a bit of a mental roadblock. I didn’t want to create the same old Guinness cake or soda bread recipes that get carted out this time every year (not that there is anything wrong with these) and I refuse to believe that the people of Ireland only eat food decorated in the colours of the Irish flag!
This lead me on a path to try to find a dish that could be considered Irish, that maybe isn’t all that well famed for being so. After some frantic Google searching and questioning of my twitter followers I was educated on the Boland Biscuit company.
First setup in the late 19th century, Boland Biscuits have been located in Dublin ever since. They even had a large part to play in the Easter Rebellion of 1916 where they handed out free bread loves to the protesters.
Nowadays they specialize in baking many biscuits that you can find in any corner shop, from bourbons to custard creams, none of which are all that Irish. They did however first invent the famous jammy mallow biscuit, a favorite from any UK child’s youth!
This cracker base, lined with marshmallow and jam then covered in coconut can still be found throughout the country, normally hiding in poundshops for reasons unknown.
My version has swapped out the cracker base for a crumbly shortbread biscuit but, apart from that I have tried to keep this as close to the original as possible. These are the type of bake to put a smile on anyone’s face and would look as good at a pretty afternoon tea as they would at any children’s birthday party bash!
Easy to bake and will keep for a few days as long as they are put in an airtight container. I really cant recommend this recipe highly enough!
125g salted butter
60g caster sugar – plus a little extra for dusting
180g plain flour – sifted
Heat the oven to 190c and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add the sifted flour then beat together until combined. This may look like the mix is too dry at first but it will come together nicely in the end. Don’t add any extra liquid or your biscuits will spread whilst baking.
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface then roll out to 1cm thick. Cut into rectangles around 1.5” wide by 2.5” long. You don’t need to be exact, just remember you need enough space to pipe your toppings once baked.
Place the cut shortbread onto the baking tray and place into the freezer for 15mins, until they are hard.
Place into the oven and bake for 10 to 15mins, keeping a close eye so they do not burn. If they spread too much then use a sharp knife to tidy them up as soon as they come out the oven.
Place on a wire rack to cool whilst you prepare the Marshmallow.
1 large egg white
250g caster sugar
3 leaves gelatin
100ml cold water
Light pink gel food colour
Add the gelatin leaves to a little cold water to soften.
Add the sugar and water to a pan and heat until 122c, using a sugar thermometer to check the temperature.
When your sugar is almost to temperature start to mix your egg white until it is stiff, as if you were making meringue.
Slowly pour the molten sugar syrup over the egg white whist whisking slowly. Once it has all been combined, add the drained gelatin leaves & vanilla then whisk on high until nearly cool.
Add a little pink food colour and stir to combine. Place the mix into a piping bag fitted with a ¼” star nozzle.
Pipe lines of marshmallow stars down both sides of each shortbread biscuit, making sure to keep a channel in the center for the jam.
1 Jar Strawberry Jam
Place some jam into a bowl and beat lightly with a spoon to loosen. Pour into a piping bag then use to fill the gap between the marshmallow on the biscuits. Don’t over pour or it will run off the edges and make for messy looking biscuits!
Finish with a little desiccated coconut.