Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Traditional Irish Apple Barley Pudding

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I should deny any knowledge of its existence, but that would make me guilty of mendacity of the highest order, so, I will instead admit that I have more than a passing acquaintance with top milk. When I was very young, milk was delivered to our home quite early in the morning. In the winter months, freezing temperatures would cause the cream in the milk to rise and pop the paper seal  that topped the bottle, producing a popsicle-like protrusion that rose 2 to 3 inches above the rim of the bottle. We called the top milk poor man's cream and I can assure you it never went to waste. I mention that only because my Irish grandmother used the top milk to make the apple and barley pudding that I want to share with you tonight. This is a very traditional Irish dessert that was originally created to use up  the surplus apples that remained after cider making.  These apples were covered in straw  and buried in the coolest place that could be found on farms, and while they became mealy and wrinkled, they did not lose their flavor while in winter storage. They were paired with a small amount of barley which also was locally grown and cooked down to a thick puree that was lightly sweetened and chilled until it set. The tart pudding was served with cream that mellowed it and gave it a lovely richness. This is not a dessert for the masses, but if you're looking for an authentic, yet easy to make, novelty for St. Patrick's Day, you might want to give this recipe a try. The barley and the pectin in the apples produce a smooth, yet thick applesauce that can hold its shape.  While cream was stirred into the original puddings just before they were served,  these days the cream is more likely to be  whipped and layered with the pudding in parfait glasses. This is a dessert worth trying, if only for its curiosity value. It's very simple to make and it may appeal to those of you who do not like your desserts to be too sweet. Here is how its made.

Apple Barley Pudding ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Ethel Minogue's Modern and Traditional Irish Cooking

4 cups water
1/4 cup pearl barley
1-1/2 pounds tart apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup heavy cream for beating or 2 tablespoons heavy cream to stir into pudding

1) Add water to a heavy pot, add barley, and bring to a boil. Add sliced apples and cook gently until both barley and apples are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and puree -- either in a blender, or in pot using an immersion blender.
2) Return mixture to pot and stir in the 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil again. Boil for about five minutes, or until syrupy bubbles form. Remove remove from heat and cool.
3) When cooled to room temperature, transfer to another container and refrigerate until very cold. If you prefer a truly simple dessert, stir 2 tablespoons cream into pudding. If you wish to be a bit more fancy, whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon sugar and layer with pudding in parfait glasses. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Cullen Skink - A Traditional Irish Smoked Fish Soup

Two Years Ago Today: Dublin Coddle for St. Patrick's Day

Three Years Ago Today: Tortilla Soup

Four Years Ago Today: Moors and Christians


Sue/the view from great island said...

I hate to admit it but I remember that top milk myself! It's so nice to come across an Irish themed dessert that isn't neon green!

Ginny Hartzler said...

This is a strange one to me, one that I have not heard of. Probably the real thing and not some touristy stuff!


Moors and Christian are very popular where I live and I love it! I also love tortilla soup and your Irish dessert...I'm getting hungry at lamost midnight, lol..Thank you for the wonderful recipes you always share. Hugs,

Unknown said...

Dear Marry I?s always nice to visit your blog . I'have seen already two interesting recipes blessing simmy

Priya Suresh said...

Elegant and very gorgeous pudding;

Diane said...

I remember the milk popping the top way back but I have never heard of called top milk. These apple dishes of yours are getting better and better. This sounds fantastic. Keep well Diane.

Kim said...

This traditionnal pouding looks quite good. Not at all surprise by the ingredients in this irish dessert!

Barbara said...

Wonderful story behind the recipe, Mary. We never called it top milk though...but I remember it well.
Love the idea of using barley instead of tapioca, too.
Happy week to you!

From the Kitchen said...

I vaguely remember having a similar dessert as a child. I also remember the cream on top of the milk bottles but don't remember it oozing out.


Unknown said...

I love that you admitted remembering the top milk... I think that is great! Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days where milk was delivered to our front doors!!!

Unknown said...

I've never heard of this! It's so pretty and sounds wonderful!

JG said...

I remember those paper seals popping up from the glass bottles during the cold winter months. The Irish Pudding looks delicious!

decocinasytacones said...

What a great alternative to a cake!!!....we´re in our cider season now in San Sebastián and we enjoy these apples very much.
I loved the explanation about it.
Love and have a great Tuesday

A Sunflower Life said...

I have never heard of this dessert, but now I'm curious to try it.

David said...

Mary, This sounds and looks really good...but I'd never heard of Barley pudding. Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Perhaps our milk did not freeze because we had a little milk box built into the house as they did in the 50's. But we have been celebrating the "wearing of the green" in one or another for all thsee years.

Joanne said...

I love that this recipe has so many memories for you! Sounds like a winner to me!

Angie said...

I love digging through your recipes but can I say ...Cullen Skink is from Scotland. xx

Alberta said...

I'm going to try this! One question, do you drain the apples and barley before you purée them, or purée them with the water?

Related Posts with Thumbnails