I’ve been out of the blogging loop for a few weeks due to being generally busy on some other projects (a fancy way to say I cleared out all my cupboards and tidied the flat) and because Mister North was doing some tech stuff to the blog to give it a new lease of life. He may not have time to write here anymore because his design skills still work wonders. So thanks heavens National Pie Week came along to give me my mojo back.
As well as realising I’d been neglecting the blog, I also finally noticed this week that I’d never ever drunk Baileys and decided I should immediately rectify that before I was banned from ever entering Ireland again for lack of patriotism. Thanks to the kindness of Bord Bia and Ocado, I visited the Irish shop on the Ocado site and bought a bottle forthwith.
I had an idea about a Baileys pie of some kind but thought it might just have to be eating a pie while drinking Baileys until I saw someone make an Irish Coffee in a cafe this week. I wanted that combination of alcohol, creaminess and sugar and decided to see if I could play around with a pie that had a coffee filling and a whipped marshmallow centre. I could always hit the bottle if it didn’t work…but I doubted there was such a thing as bad pie.
Baileys Coffee Marshmallow Pie (makes one 9 inch pie)
For the base:
- 175g digestive biscuits (I actually used Grace’s Irish Oatmeal biscuits)
- 75g butter
- pinch salt
For the coffee filling:
- 50ml very strong brewed instant coffee
- 35ml Baileys
- 100g sugar
- 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
- 3 whole eggs
- 75g butter
For the marshmallow topping:
- 1 sheet leaf gelatin (don’t use powdered)
- 75ml cold water
- 75ml golden syrup
- 100g sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- pinch salt
Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list. This pie is actually very easy to make. I did it in just over an hour in an unfamiliar kitchen while chatting to a friend.
Start with the base. I couldn’t resist using these shamrock shaped biscuits which are what Northern Irish people call flakemeal biscuits and are a massive favourite of mine. Digestives would work as well. Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter (I used good old Kerrygold) and mix it into the biscuit crumbs.
Press the crumbs into a very well buttered 9 inch loose bottomed tart tin and bake for 10 minutes in the oven at 180℃. This gives the base the lightest crumbliest texture that turns a biscuit bottom into something amazing. Set aside and allow to cool.
Make the filling by making some instant coffee that is thicker than a treacle soaked Southern accent. I added three spoonfuls to that amount of boiling water. Then put all of the ingredients in a saucepan and warming it gently over a medium heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Stir it constantly and don’t let it boil and it shouldn’t scramble on you. If it does, pour it through a sieve while no one is looking and add a touch more Baileys.
Gently pour the filling into the pie case and allow it to mooch its way to the edge of the biscuit. Don’t poke it or cajole it, just let find its own pathway. Bake for 7-8 minutes in the 180℃ oven until it looks like a darker version of treacle tart. Set aside and allow to cool.
Now for the fun bit: make your marshmallow. If you are shaking your head that marshmallow never works for you, know this, there are two kinds of marshmallow. One is designed to set pillowy firm and be cut into blocks, but this kind is actually marshmallow fluff and will stay sticky and cloud- like no matter what you do. It’s much more forgiving than the former but you will need a sugar thermometer to be sure.
Soak your gelatin in a small bowlful of cold water for 5 minutes while you make your sugar syrup. Put the golden syrup, water and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat slowly and steadily to 118℃.
As the syrup heats, whip the egg whites with an electric whisk until they are frothy and then immediately take the sugar syrup off the heat and pour it into the egg whites and start beating it all together. With your other hand, take the gelatin out of the water and add to the still hot pan to melt it for a minute or so and then add that in. It needs the heat to activate it.
Add the vanilla and then whip the egg whites into marshmallow for 12 minutes. I won’t deny it might make your hand throb a bit if you don’t have a stand mixer but it whizzes by quicker than you’d expect. Turn the oven up to 240℃.
Spread the marshmallow mix which is now glossy and white and perfect over the cooled coffee filling. Swirl it round nicely to a peak and put it in the very hot oven for 6 minutes to brown the top. Allow to cool and remove from the tin to serve.
It tastes of dark almost spicy sugar, rich coffee and a kick of Baileys that stop it being cloying. The base and topping are both light and airy and the friend I ate it with described it as dreamy. What more could you want in a dessert?