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Recipes: from syllabub to drop scones

The transformative powers of a dollop of dairy

 

Strawberries without cream, apple pie without custard, jelly without ice-cream? The beauty of many desserts which we know and love is all down to dairy. Irish dairy is renowned worldwide for its creamy taste but it also has a wide range of health benefits. It is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals like calcium which we need for healthy bones, and is also a source of protein.

The beauty of adding it to any dish is the transformative power it can have, and it can make the sweetest course of your meal into something extraordinary. Think about Christmas dinner, the sherry trifle would not be the same without it, and the pudding like a lonely Laurel without Hardy if it is denied brandy butter or cream. As well as its delicious taste, it is excellent for cooking and has many things to sing about as it is natural, it is Irish, it is sustainable and of course, its health benefits. 

The secret to Irish dairy is something Ireland is renowned for, its rainfall. While this isn’t often seen as a positive, this regular rain and our temperate climate makes it ideal for growing grass and Irish cows have one of the longest outdoor grazing seasons in the world with this grass-fed diet resulting in creamy, rich and delicious dairy products. The grass is rich in natural beta-carotene which gives the cheeses and butter their unique dreamy golden halo of colour.

While trends and fads come and go, dairy has always remained a cherished part of the Irish diet and a touch of cream, a swirl of ice cream or drop of yogurt can make dessert time something very special.

Here are some recipe ideas for desserts that include Irish dairy cream, buttermilk and yogurt:

SYLLABUB WITH BLUEBERRY PURÉE

Serves 6
You will need ...
450g/1 lb blueberries (or soft fruit or berries of choice)
2 tbsp water
juice of 1 lemon
caster sugar to taste
300ml/10floz Irish cream
3 egg whites

Preparation & method:
• Reserve a few whole, raw fruits for decoration. Cook the rest gently in water and lemon juice until soft. Add sugar to taste and stir until dissolved. Purée in a food processor
• Whip cream until thick but not stiff
• In another bowl whip egg whites until fairly stiff. Very gently mix cream and egg whites together
• Take six white wine glasses (or flutes) and divide fruit purée equally between them. Swirl equal quantities of the cream and egg white mixture on top
• Decorate with the reserved raw fruit
• Serve with thin ginger biscuits.

BUTTERMILK AND OAT DROP SCONES

Makes about 20
You will need ...
600ml/20floz Irish buttermilk
175g/6oz fine-ground oatmeal*
90g/3oz unsifted white self-raising flour
2 tbsp honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 medium egg, beaten
a little extra Irish milk to thin batter
* Fine-ground oatmeal may be hard to find, however it is easy enough to grind pin-head oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder.

Preparation & cooking:
• Put the oatmeal in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, mix well, then leave to soak overnight
• Just before cooking sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add these to the oatmeal and buttermilk mixture
• Add the egg, honey and enough milk to make a thin-ish batter (just a little thinner than you would use for ordinary pancakes)
• Heat a heavy, well-sealed griddle or pan over a medium heat. When hot, drop in tablespoonfuls of the batter, well spaced
• Cook until they rise, are covered in bubbles on the upper side and golden brown underneath. Turn and brown the other side
• Eat these hot from the pan with a little butter and honey.

YOGURT AND CREAM CHEESE ICE CREAM

Makes 12 portions
You will need ...
350g (12oz) natural Irish yogurt
350g (12oz) caster sugar
350g (12oz) fresh, low-fat Irish cream cheese

Preparation & method:
• Whisk together the yogurt and sugar
• Whisk the cheese until smooth and fold carefully into the yogurt mixture
• Place in a bowl and freeze until solid, whisking vigorously every hour until the ice cream freezes. The addition of 675g (1½lb) fruit purée before freezing produces a lovely fruit ice cream.


For more information visit ndc.ie/dairy-goodness

The National Dairy council