In our Heritage Dish series, we feature Hamilton Beach employees and their favorite family recipes. This month, we highlight Martin Brady, Director of Consumer Marketing, and one of his family’s favorite Irish pastry recipes, Granny Brady’s Chiffon Tarts.
I would say we had quite traditional dinner meals, growing up in Ireland – meat, veg and potatoes. Not that potatoes aren’t a veg, but potato was very often the starch…and I do like potatoes! My son Aidan isn’t a fan of mashed potatoes, but my daughter Aislinn is. She often uses this to say she is more Irish than her brother.
While my mom Pauline is a great cook, I really love her baking – all from scratch! She still sends over about a dozen or two mini minced pies every Christmas Holiday. They are carefully packed in bubble wrap so they arrive intact…mostly. A Holiday tradition this time of year is Pancake Tuesday – Fat Tuesday here in the States. The pancakes we’d eat for dinner were lighter than those in the States, and we would drizzle them with lemon juice and top them with castor sugar. No maple syrup for us, but I hear my Mom now makes pancakes with Nutella on top for her millennial grandkids.
Another go-to staple for her grandkids is Granny’s Brady’s chocolate cake. It is the first thing my son thinks about whenever Granny Brady comes up in conversation. On one of our early trips to Ireland, he spied the chocolate cake on her kitchen countertop. He was offered a piece and has been forever smitten with the moist cake and chocolate-y iced filling. I haven’t quite mastered it yet in my own kitchen. Perhaps it is the flour … or the castor sugar, which is not always easy to get in the US.
Tea Brack was another favorite – a slice of buttered tea brack is the perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea when someone drops in to Céile (an Irish term meaning to visit or a social occasion with music and dancing.) Barm Bracks were always popular around Halloween. It was tradition to cook them with a surprise baked-in (usually a coin wrapped in grease-proof paper). The lucky person got the slice with the coin.
Granny Brady’s Chiffon Tarts are another favorite treat I remember my mom making. These are delicate and luxurious coconut-topped treats baked on a special pan. (Editor’s note: We used a 12-cavity whoopie pie pan with great success.) The crust is flaky and tastes like shortbread, and there is a nice pop of chewy, fruity tartness from the apricot preserves. I wanted to share this recipe with you, as my mother has been kind enough to share it with me, and the Test Kitchen has been kind enough to recreate it here.