Donal Skehan's edible gifts
Homemade presents have never been tastier with these sweet treats.
Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Caramels
Homemade caramels are the ideal edible gift. These ones have a sprinkle of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt which balances and intensifies the caramel flavour. They set to a soft chewy consistency making them fairly irresistible.
Makes 30 Caramels
175ml double cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract
250g granulated sugar
160g golden syrup
2 tsp of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt
Grease a baking tin (22cm x 15cm) with a little butter and line with parchment paper. Place the cream, vanilla extract and half the butter in a small saucepan over a medium high heat. Bring to a steady boil and then remove from the heat and set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the sugar and golden syrup over a medium high heat. Mix together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 155°C on a sugar thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the cream mixture. Place the pan back on the heat and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 127°C. Stir through the remaining butter until completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin and sprinkle evenly all over the top with sea salt. Allow to cool completely before slicing into individual caramels with a knife dipped in boiling water (this allows it to slice without sticking). Wrap each one with parchment paper and they will keep in an airtight container for up to one month.
Yoghurt Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is a wonderful make-ahead dinner party dessert. This lighter version uses creamy Irish yoghurt rather than cream but by all means use it if you fancy something indulgent!
4 gelatin leaves
2 tbsp of caster sugar
4 tbsp milk
500g natural yoghurt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
300g raspberries, hulled
Juice of lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water in a shallow dish. Put the sugar and milk in a small pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Take the gelatine out of the water, squeeze out extra liquid and stir into the hot milk. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla extract and pour into individual serving glasses. Chill in the fridge for approximately 3 hours or until set.
To make the sauce, place the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Serve the set panna cotta topped with the raspberry coulis.
I once heard a saying that a gift should always be something that you can eat or attend. While tickets to a show are always welcome, I am totally on board with edible gifts! If you don't have time to bake up a storm this Christmas, there are an array of Irish companies creating bespoke gifts and treats to sort all your gifting needs. Delish Melish is an artisan marshmallow and meringue boutique based in Dublin. Owner Derval Melett hand-makes an array of vibrant artisan marshmallows and meringues, including flavours like lavender, lemon curd and peanut butter and dark chocolate. Pick them up at farmers' markets across the city including Farmleigh Market. See: delishmelish.com
Cornude Artisan Popcorn
The Christmas season wouldn't be complete without the obligatory festive film fest! Movies and popcorn obviously go hand-in-hand, but if you want to up your Christmas snacking game, Cornude's Artisan Popcorn provides some great options. This is a handmade treat created in the heart of The Liberties in small batches. With flavour combinations to suit all tastes including Irish Seaweed Caramel or Chipotle & Aleppo, popcorn just got interesting! See: cornude.ie