Saturday, March 7, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Irish Cakes / Boxties

About a week ago I posted the recipe for 
Well, time goes by.
Goodbye, St. David… Hello, St. Patrick.
And wouldn’t you know there’s a recipe called Irish Cakes.

Irish Cakes, known as Boxties, were created in the mid-nineteenth century.

At that time Ireland was being hit by the Great Famine, between 1845 and 1852.
The famine was caused by a mildew that attacked potato crops.
The poor potato crop led to the great migration of Irish to North America.
Yes, it’s always about food.

Irish Cakes were seen as peasant food.
Boxty comes from the Irish aran bocht tí (poorhouse bread).

Irish Cakes became so popular that there was a rhyme written in their honour:

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you can’t bake boxty,
Sure you’ll never get a man.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
The wee one in the middle,
Is the one for Mary Anne.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you don’t eat boxty,
Sure you’ll never get a man.


Add a pinch of pepper, garlic or other spices - whatever you wish.
You can grease the skillet with either butter or oil.

For breakfast you can butter each boxty and serve hot with or without sugar.
You can also serve crisp bacon with them and drizzle maple syrup over the boxty.

Having company?
Try topping them with smoked salmon and crème fraîche for a fun twist on blini.
You can use boxty like a pizza base with tomato and cheese.
Or serve them with wilted spinach and a poached egg.
You can also serve a boxty as a wrap for fajitas. 

Irish Cakes also freeze well.

There are also other variations: boiling the patty like a potato dumpling (sometimes called hurleys) or baking it like a loaf.

If you’d like to make more of a meal, you might also cook

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

                        Irish Cakes

Makes 10 boxties
1 pound potatoes
Quarter half of the peeled potatoes and place them in a medium pot.
Cover with water and add
1 teaspoon salt 
Cook until tender.
Drain all of the water from the potatoes and mash them.
Do not add water or any liquids.

Grate the remaining half of the potatoes into a large bowl.
Toss the grated potatoes with 
1 1/2 Cups flour 
Stir in the mashed potatoes.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 Cups buttermilk
Add to the potato mixture.
Mix well for 2 to 3 minutes.

Lightly grease a griddle or frying pan and heat over medium heat. 
Pour ladlefuls of the batter into the pan.
Spread them out into circles, forming pancakes about 1/2 inch thick.
When the first side is golden brown, flip them with a spatula to cook the other side.
Remove the cooked boxties and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with butter and honey. 

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