While I like to flavour my food and desserts with a dash of alcohol, I am not much of a drinker. Despite that I tend to be partial to liqueurs. I'm always ready to sample a new one. Maybe because I am intrigued by the flavours with which they are infused with. Whether they are infused with fruits, herbs, flowers, woods or spices, they all have a little story that speaks of the region they come from or I have a little story to go with it.
Like the first time I tried cherry liqueur was in Sikkim, in India's north-east corner. Having returned to civilization after a week of trekking in the mountains in the area, we were offered a glass of it as a welcome drink at the hotel we were staying. The luxury of the drink after a week of roughing it out was a memory that won't be forgotten easily! Or like the time, I had my first taste of ouzo, the Greek aniseed liqueur, in University, thanks to a bottle that a Greek flatmate had lugged all the way from home. And how he diluted it with water because he didn't trust that we would be able to handle its high alcohol content!
And then there's Baileys, for which I will always have a soft spot. I was allowed a taste of it, I think, while I was still in school and that taste of sweet cream tinged with alcohol has remained a favourite.
I had in an earlier post talked of making my own vodka based fruit liqueurs. It's all very simple except that they all have a resting period of a few weeks to let the flavours infuse. Turns out, its even simpler to make your own homemade Baileys. And there's no resting time. Just whisk everything in a bowl and a bottle of Irish cream is at your command!!
My sister and I had made it a few years back and I thought I revisit making it over the long weekend. Try it for yourself and you won't get over how ridiculously easy it is. The recipe is from 'Farmette', Imen's charming blog as she chronicles her life on an Irish farm.
Because, it is a cream based liqueur, you are advised to finish it off in 2 weeks. So, either you give the gang of friends an invite to finish off the bottle or you hunt around the Internet for a recipe that will do the same. I zeroed in on a Baileys cheesecake.
I have gone with a no-bake cheesecake because I already have a recipe for a baked cheesecake that is gold. And baking it, would have taken away all taste of the Baileys as most of the alcohol would evaporate during baking. I also experimented with agar agar powder instead of gelatine and the results were extremely favourable.
I baked my base only because I couldn't find any digestive biscuits at home to make a no-bake biscuit base. But, you can always make a biscuit base. It will be easier and less fussy. Despite using a substantial amount of Irish cream, the taste of it is subtle in the finished product. The thin layer of coffee jelly not only helps with the presentation but helps to cut through all the creaminess that could get a bit too heavy, if left all by itself.
This would be perfect as a grown-ups dessert for a weekend dinner. I think you'll enjoy it as much as we did.
And what about you .. have you tasted any interesting liqueurs that come with an even more interesting story?? I'd love to hear about it. Hope you enjoyed the long weekend!!
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
For the base:
For the base:
- 20 gms (2 tablespoons) almond meal
- 1/4 + 1/8 cup plain all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, chopped
- 225 gms cream cheese (one 8-ounce packet of Philadelphia cream cheese)
- 120 mls Irish cream liqueur (recipe given below or use Baileys)
- 70 gms caster sugar
- 70 mls double cream, lightly whipped
- 1 tablespoon powdered agar agar*
- 1/2 cup water
- 100 mls strong black coffee
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar, to sweeten the coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered agar agar##
- Pre-heat oven to 150 deg C.
- To make the base, place the almond meal, flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until a rough dough forms.
- Line the base of a 8-inch springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Press the base mixture into the base and level and smoothen it out with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden.
- Sprinkle the powdered agar agar over 1/2 cup of water and keep aside for 5 minutes.
- Beat the cream cheese with the sugar.
- Gently warm the baileys in a double boiler (place a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water). Do NOT let it boil.
- In another saucepan place the powdered agar agar and water mixture and stir on low heat until it melts completely, about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not allow this to boil.
- After the agar agar melts completely, gently pour the warm agar agar solution into the warm baileys, stirring all the while. It is important that they both be of the same temperature or else the agar agar powder will not blend in properly.
- Slowly add the baileys mixture into the cream cheese mixture and beat well with a wire whisk until well blended.
- Fold in the cream.
- To be sure, you can strain the mixture through a sieve to catch any ungainly lumps of agar agar that haven't melted.
- Pour this mixture over the prepared crust, level with a spoon and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
- For the coffee jelly, mix the sugar with the coffee. Sprinkle the agar agar powder over the coffee.
- Then put the mixture in a saucepan on gentle heat until dissolved. Do NOT let it boil.
- Cool the mixture. When cold, carefully spoon the coffee mixture on top of the cheesecake to make a thin layer – don’t pour it on or you will disturb the creamy layer. Chill until set. Will keep in the fridge for 2 days.
##If instead of powdered agar agar, you would like to use gelatine, then use the same amount, but it is important to soak the gelatine in 1 tablespoon of COLD water and then add that to the coffee to dissolve.
Recipe Source: Farmette
Makes approximately 700 mls.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup whiskey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (14-ounces) can sweetened condensed milk (In India, I use Nestle or Amul)
- Combine 1 tablespoon cream and the coffee and cocoa powders to make a smooth paste.
- Slowly add remaining cream, whisking until smooth.
- Add whiskey, vanilla extract, and sweetened condensed milk; stir to combine.
- Pour into a glass bottle and keep refrigerated until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks.
- To serve, pour into a tumbler filled with ice.