I remember the St. Patrick’s Day of my childhood as the day of the Irish Sheridan sisters: there were the twins, Marguerite and Mary, and Kathleen, whom I also called ‘grandma,’ and Delores, my grandma, the youngest. We have pictures of them, all decked out in green and standing in a row, smiling brightly, a version of the same image for every year they gathered. They were separated in childhood when their mother died of typhoid fever and their father, an Irish lover of the drink, was unable to care for them. They were reunited years later and remained close; in fact, my grandma and her sister Kaye lived a block apart for almost all of their adult lives and chatted on the phone every day. They had a sweetness about their connection, one that comes perhaps from years of separation and longing, and from gratitude which does not fade. They were dear to me, my guides, my bellwethers, my lodestars. I’ll celebrate without them this week, as they have all passed away now, and remember them with such fondness as we eat this tipsy pudding. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Tipsy Pudding with Spiced Wine & Honey Cream Cheese
Adapted from Margaret Johnson’s Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles, and Fools
Yield: 6 servings
1 ¼ c. fresh bread crumbs from 5 or 6 slices of white bread
2 large eggs, separated
¾ c. sugar
2 t. finely grated lemon zest
3 c. red wine (not cooking wine, something delicious you would drink)
¼ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 T. honey
3 T. heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Smear 6 4-ounce ramekins with soft butter and set them aside.
- Tear or cut the crusts from the bread and tear the bread into pieces. Place them in a food processor and grind until they are fine bread crumbs.
- In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and foamy.
- In a small bowl, using a clean electric beater, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Stir a bit of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.
- Gently fold in the bread crumbs.
- Divide the batter into the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes, or until the puddings are set.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the wine, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, sugar, and spices to a simmer.
- Cook the wine until it is reduced and a bit syrup-y.
- Remove the whole spices. You may strain the wine if you prefer.
- In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, honey, and heavy cream until they are smooth and whipped.
- To serve, remove the puddings from their ramekins by running a dull knife around the edge of each one and tipping them out. Place each one on a pretty plate and spoon the syrup-y spiced wine over the top. Place a dab of honey cream cheese on top.