In an interview in the Wall St. Journal last week, Francis Ford Coppola let the cat out of the bag about Irish ice cream. The “Godfather” director said “The most underrated destination is: View PostIreland. It’s a beautiful country, and the people are extraordinary. They have such a wonderful literary tradition, one of warmth and humor. Also, Irish ice cream is among the best in the world, which no one knows.” Read the full article here: online.wsj.com/articles/francis-ford-coppola-talks-travel-1407436237.
Irish ice cream and other dairy products are made from milk from cows that can graze outdoors almost year round.
When we were teens, my friend Maire had a summer job in the kiosk at Portmarnock beach — a blue snack shack at the steps to the most beautiful beach in the Dublin area. The most popular item was a “99” — a creamy swirl of whipped, aka soft serve, ice cream (always vanilla) in a wafer cone topped with Cadbury’s Flake, a flaky stick of milk chocolate. Although we weren’t paid to be there, as teenage girls we spent a lot of time at the kiosk on sunny afternoons. It was the primo spot to see which boys were at the beach that day and, of course, eat ice cream.
Cadbury’s chocolate is not manufactured in Dublin anymore, but you can still buy Flakes in Irish import stores or online and make your own version of a “99.” If you don’t have soft serve, crumble the flake over regular freezer case ice cream for an Irish summer treat.
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I add a taste of Ireland to the classic American summer dessert of berry shortcakes, by substituting strawberry scones for the usual biscuit style cake. This scone recipe is more cake than bread. The lemon and turbinado sugar topping provides a satisfying crunchy contrast to the sweet, tender cake. Very easy to make, they are beautiful enough for a special occasion brunch (I recommend strawberry shortcakes with mimosas.) In June, when the first, jewel-like strawberries appear in the market, I make them with strawberries alone. For July 4th celebrations, I mix blueberries with strawberries and raspberries for a patriotic red, white and blue dessert.
Recently, they were my contribution to an impromptu barbecue at my friends Denise and Mike’s lovely lakefront home. As the proud and exhausted parents of four month old triplets, Denise and Mike were sticking close to home, so friends brought the party to them. We took turns feeding and changing the beautiful babies before sitting down to a summer potluck feast of grilled chicken and hot dogs, homegrown garden salad, cheese, wine and mixed berry shortcakes.
- ½ cup chopped strawberries
- 4 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsps. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 oz. unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup plain yogurt (not nonfat)
- Shortcake topping:
- 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar
- 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 4 cups mixed berries, (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 cups chilled heavy cream, preferably organic, whipped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine the berries with the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp. granulated sugar. Stir gently together until blended. Cover and refrigerate for ½ hour, stirring occasionally.
- Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg. Stir in the chopped strawberries. Then fold in the yogurt to make a fairly wet dough.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. With floured hands, shape it into a ½ inch high round. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out eight shortcakes.
- Mix turbinado sugar and lemon zest together. Sprinkle over the top of the shortcakes.
- Place shortcakes on a greased baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes in preheated 400 degree oven until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
- Remove shortcakes from oven, transfer to a cooling rack for about an hour. If not using the shortcakes right away, store in an airtight container.
- To serve, slice each shortcake in half horizontally. Place shortcake bottom halves, sliced side up on a serving platter or individual plates. Top each with some of the berry mixture and whipped cream. Then top with the other half of the shortcake. Serve immediately.