I remember once, many years ago, trying a Tipperary Pippin Apple and was blown away by its perfect cooking nature. There are so many more varieties to choose from now, but that one taste has stayed with me all these years. So in honor of my first bite of a true Irish apple, enjoy this Yankee take on the Apple Barley Pudding that is so dear to Irish hearts, and palates.
I gave this a little zing that I think is spot on. For an even warmer feel, try substituting allspice for the nutmeg. Now many of you will be asking by now, why barley in a dessert?
Many centuries ago, in Ireland, barley was a cereal grain that was widely used in kitchens during St. Patrick’s time, which many historians have only summarized as being in the 5th century. So barley was used as a thickener, porridge, bread, pastries and, of course through natural progression, desserts of all kinds.
- 5 large apples of your choice, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons pearl barley
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups apple juice
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 cup whipped cream or topping
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup cranberry juice or orange juice
- 1 In a large saucepan, bring the apples, barley, water and apple juice to a boil over mediumhigh heat. Reduce heat to mediumlow, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until barley is soft.
- 2 Remove from heat and strain, reserving any liquid. Add apple mixture to a food processor bowl, or in batches using a blender, and puree until it resembles chunky applesauce.
- 3 Add reserved liquid if needed to puree or more apple juice if the liquid has been fully absorbed. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add sugar and spices, mixing well.
- 4 Cover and refrigerate until cooled or serve warm. Meanwhile, make cranberry "sauce". In a small saucepan, add cranberries and juice. Bring to a boil over medium, high heat.
- 5 When boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, or until cranberries have started to take in the juice and swell. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
- 6 This sauce will thicken perfectly while pureeing because of the very high, natural pectin levels in the cranberries. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cooled.
- 7 To serve, spoon apple pudding into 3-4 serving dishes, top with whipped topping and drizzle sauce over the top.
- 8 Note: Pearl barley has been processed, therefore it is not classified as a whole grain. But if you would like to add hulled barley (aka pot barley or barley groats) in order to obtain the fiber, simply cook twice as long, and you will need to add one extra cup of liquid because of the longer cooking time. The consistency will not be altered because of the addition of other ingredients, but if you were to cook it on its' own, it will be much chewier and sticky. And don't forget to rinse it before cooking to help keep that stickiness down.