Apple Barley Pudding
Simple but elegant, a farmhouse dessert to dress up or down

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Apple Barley Pudding

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Ingredients

1.5 pounds / 700g Large cooking apples Cored, peeled and thinly sliced
4 rounded tablespoons Pearl barley
4 tablespoons Lemon juice Fresh if possible
4 tablespoons Granulated sugar
1 quart / 1 liter Warm water
2 tablespoons Heavy cream If stirring in
1 cup Heavy cream For whipping, if layering
4 teaspoons Granulated sugar For sweeting whipped cream

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Cuisine:

    Easy to make with your favorite apples, and popular with kids

    • Medium

    Ingredients

    Directions

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    This recipe harks back to a time when cooks were intent on making the best of what they had on hand, and didn’t have recourse to glossy supermarkets full of ingredients that were in season somewhere else but not at home. When their harvesting season was over, apples were most commonly preserved by being made into cider (which in Ireland always means alcoholic cider: anything else is called “apple juice”). But they could also be stored using a number of methods which would keep them edible, if nothing like just-off-the-tree crunchy condition.

    This recipe for apple barley pudding was clearly developed to deal with those out-of-season apples and a little of the spare barley that would always be hiding somewhere in the kitchen, since so many farmers grew it. Cooking the apples down to a puree both removes the problem with their texture and infuses the barley with the apples’ pectin, another effective gelling and thickening agent. Then the final result is sweetened a little, sharpened further with lemon juice, and chilled. The finished product is surprisingly light and delicate, with a tart kick: the cream mellows it all down and adds amazing richness.

    The original recipe (which we’ve adapted from one in Ethel Minogue’s Modern and Traditional Irish Cooking) calls for cool cream to be stirred into the apple and barley pudding when it’s finished and ready to be eaten. However, another approach that works (we think) much better is to layer it in parfait glasses with freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream. It’s your call.

     

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    Steps

    1
    Done

    Add the water to a heavy pot, add the barley, and bring to a boil. Add the sliced apples and cook gently until both the barley and the apples are soft (normally about half an hour).

    2
    Done

    At this point the apples may have gone completely to pieces. This is just fine. Remove the mixture from heat and puree -- either in a blender, right in the pot with a stick mixer, or by pushing through a sieve.

    3
    Done

    Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil again. Boil for about five minutes: then remove from the heat and cool.

    4
    Done

    When cooled, put into another container and refrigerate until very cold. Serve cold with cream stirred in. Or (for a slightly fancier take on the presentation) whip heavy whipping cream with added sugar, and layer in parfait glasses with the cream, saving a dollop for on top. Garnish with sliced apple if you like.

    Enjoy!

    IrishDessertLady

    I write for a living. But food is one of my favorite hobbies... learning about it, cooking it, eating it!

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