There was a time I used to travel to Ireland for a couple of days almost every week. Of course I didn’t have children by then and these trips were part of my job, sometimes even happening during weekends. During this period I was going one week to London and another to Dublin. I love London, but in Dublin I basically felt like home. It’s just the way people are, so welcoming and gentle. A few meetings and I would start to consider many of the people I met my friends. Pleasant times.
Going to Dublin always meant having wonderful dinners in a multitude of fine restaurants spread around the city. Dubliners know how to spend a great time. They’re extremely social and don’t miss an opportunity to have fun. Which of course includes drinks galore. No wonder they’ve created beverages like Guinness, whiskey, Irish coffee, cider and Baileys. In their vibrant nightlife, the pubs are always full all-night long especially in the most touristic area around Temple Bar. Or in the prestigious Lillie’s Bordello, where often you can mingle with rock stars like Bono or Bob Geldof.
During day, and after work hours it was nice to walk through the peaceful St. Stephen’s Green Park, really close to the main shopping street, the Grafton Street. I would normally stay at the Westin or the Westbury Hotel, right in the city-centre, allowing me to go everywhere within walking distance. I love walkable cities. Other times, when these hotels were booked I would stay in the Fitzwilliam, which houses one of the Dublin’s finest restaurant, the Thornton’s. Yes, Dublin is that delicious.
Another thing that comes to my mind when I think about Dublin are the colorful doors. Red, green, yellow, the townhouses doors are really something else. In the city of prominent literary figures and artists, you could also find me in the National Gallery, admiring and getting to know a little more about the extensive collection of Irish paintings. In this museum I found some masterpieces of other notable artists, like Velasquez, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, William Hogarth, Degas, Picasso, Turner and so many more. Definitely a must visit.
Yet, in the middle of the most amazing castles and landmarks I want to emphasize one of the newest monuments: the spire of Dublin, known as the monument of the light.Why? Because this conical spire that seems to be touching the sky was the point of encounter to many meetings. Certainly, you can’t get lost with that one. But you might want to get lost with this cheesecake, the ultimate taste of Ireland. From my kingdom to yours. Enjoy.
Baileys Marbled Cheesecake
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 70-80 minutes
For the crust:
1 cup crumbled Maria cookies (or graham cracker)
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tbsp unsalted butter (I use European style)
1 tsp pure cocoa powder
For the filling:
24 oz (3 packages) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup Baileys irish cream liqueur
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 oz white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
To make the crust:
Combine the Maria cookies with the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. Add the butter and cocoa powder and pulse again until all well mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 10 Inch Springform Pan that previously has been lined with parchment paper and lightly greased with butter. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set it aside.
To make the filling:
In a large bowl of a stand or hand mixer, mix the cream cheese with the sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing quickly after each addition. Then beat in 2 tbsp of corn starch, 1 cup of Baileys and the vanilla extract. Separate about 1/3 of the mixture in another bowl, add the melted chocolate (melted in the microwave for 30 second intervals, whisked until smooth and let cool a bit), whisking well. Pour the plain mixture in the prepared springform pan and top with the chocolate mixture. Make a marbled design by swirling the batter with a knife.
Bake 10 minutes in the oven set to 350 F degrees. Reduce the heat to 250 F degrees and bake for more 60-70 minutes. The edges will be firm and the center a little jiggle. As it cools it will firm up.
Immediately run a thin knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan, but allow it to cool completely and then refrigerate it for at least an hour before you remove the sides of the springform pan.
Using a vegetable peeler, cut both chocolate (semi-sweet and white) in small curls. Spread the curls on top of the cheesecake.