My favourite meeting spot when I am in Dublin is Bewley’s Oriental Café in Grafton Street.
Bewley’s has been a Dublin institution since the late 19th century and its coffee and tea is sold throughout Ireland. It still hand roasts all its coffee on site on the fourth floor of 78 Grafton Street. Named “the heart and hearth of Dublin” by poet Brendan Kennelly, the Grafton Street café was the haunt of Irish literary greats such as James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett. It’s a great spot to meet friends for a chat or to take a break from Grafton Street shopping.
I When I was a student at Trinity College Dublin many years ago, I treated Bewley’s Westmoreland and Grafton Street cafes like my sitting room. Countless confidences were shared and romances begun and ended over “white” coffee (café au lait) and cakes. My favourites were almond buns and coffee slices. Here is an easy recipe for the coffee slice — a coffee-glazed puff pastry with fresh whipped cream — using store bought puff pastry.
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- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) coffee syrup
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) cold water
- 6 tbsp. (90 g) confectioner's (icing) sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
- Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 15 x 12 inches. Cut pastry lengthwise into three 12 x 5 inch strips. Transfer two of the strips to the baking sheet. Dock each strip all over with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Bake pastry strips until golden and puffed -- about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a rack to cool.
- Using a long, serrated knife, trim top side of the pastry strips so they are flat and event.
- In a small bowl, stir coffee syrup with cold water and confectioner's sugar to make a spreadable glaze. Add a little more water if the glaze is too thick.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the coffee glaze on the bottom of one of the pastry strips.
- Whip cream thickly.
- Place second pastry strip on a work surface. Spread jam on the pastry. Top with the whipped cream. Cover with the coffee-glazed strip -- glazed side up. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Using a serrated knife, cut pastry into eight slices.