A bit o' green: Ye didn't forget, did ye? Sunday is Saint Patrick's Day


This mint chocolate cheesecake is one of several desserts that can add a wee bit of green to your Saint Patrick’s Day table.

This mint chocolate cheesecake is one of several desserts that can add a wee bit of green to your Saint Patrick’s Day table. Photo by: cookingchanneltv.com


Pistachio Dessert

Pistachio Dessert
Photo by: tasteofhome.com


Pistachio Parfaits

Pistachio Parfaits
Photo by: tasteofhome.com


Chocolate Guinness Cake

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Photo by: tasteofhome.com



Jan Swoope



It's that time of year again, when anyone who has ever had the good fortune to visit the Emerald Isle is reminded of its beauty, its Gaelic language, music and people. Sunday is Saint Patrick's Day, when Ireland's patron saint is honored, as he is each March 17. In this country, where some say there are more people of Irish descent than in Ireland, the feast day is widely celebrated as well, although why Americans seem obsessed with toasting the man largely credited with spreading Christianity in Ireland with green beer still isn't quite clear.


However, on this significant annual occasion, it is fun to add some green to your day. There's no sweeter way to do it than with dessert.


Pretty pistachio pudding parfaits or a quick pistachio dessert made with biscuit mix add a touch of emerald elegance to your table. A mint ice cream torte, concocted with mint chocolate chip ice cream, Andes candies and Oreo cookies, takes green to new heights, while a chocolate Guinness cake recipe from tasteofhome.com boasts a cream cheese frosting that resembles the foamy head on a pint of Ireland's signature ale. All the recipes are included in today's food pages, or under the Lifestyles link at cdispatch.com.



If you happen to be throwing a party for Saint Patrick's Day, or just want to make the day a bit more fun for family, try some of the following simple, inexpensive and festively cheesy ideas.


Ask the lads and lasses in your house to wear green to the dining table, where, by the way, they might encounter green pancakes, green mashed potatoes, or green deviled eggs -- courtesy of a little food dye. Some gold-foil wrapped chocolate "coins" and even Lucky Charms cereal can be scattered around place settings for a whimsical touch.


Before the meal, or before dessert, hand out paper and pen to everyone at the table and give them five minutes to write a limerick, which everybody then shares. Laughs are sure to follow.


Let young children search, in-house or in the yard, for treasure (those gold-wrapped "coins" again) to fill their "pots of gold."


Having a party? Find a big-ish rock, or a fake one of plastic or papier maché, for your Blarney Stone, and let guests kiss it when they enter.


And if you just have to serve green beer, one drop of food coloring in a clear glass before adding the beer will do the trick. Any beer will do, but lighter colored brews show off the green color best. Darker beers like stout will have a green head atop their normally dark bodies.


Whatever your glass is filled with this Saint Patrick's Day, raise it in toast to Ireland -- Éire -- a land of stunning landscapes and ancient lore, a destination worth dreaming of.





Prep: 30 minutes


Cooking: 45 minutes


Makes 12 servings



For the crust:


24 chocolate wafer cookies (homemade or store-bought)


3 tablespoons butter, melted



For the cheesecake:


1 cup packed fresh mint leaves


1/4 cup heavy cream


2 drops green food coloring


1 1/2 pounds cream cheese


1 cup sugar


1 1/2 cups sour cream


6 egg yolks


1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract


2 tablespoons Irish whiskey



For the topping:


1 cup sour cream


2 tablespoons sugar


1/2 teaspoon vanilla



  • To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  • In a food processor break up cookies until they are powder. Add the butter and pulse until it just sticks together. Firmly pat the chocolate crust into an 8-inch springform pan. Bake crust for about 5 minutes and cool on rack.


  • Reduce oven to 300 degrees.


  • To make mint-cream: In a blender or food processor add mint and heavy cream. Pulse until mint is well blended in the cream. Add food coloring. Set aside.


  • Mix the cheesecake batter: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed. Scrape mixture off sides of bowl and make sure it is very smooth. Mix in sour cream. Add yolks one at a time, mixing well between each one. Add mint extract and whiskey and mix until well combined.


  • Divide cheesecake batter into two bowls and add the mint-cream mixture to one of the bowls.


  • Add about 1 cup of white cheesecake batter to the prepared pan. Then add 1 cup of the mint batter in the center, do not spread it out too much.


  • Add about 3/4 cup of the white batter, followed by 3/4 cup of the mint batter. Add about 1/2 cup of the white batter, followed by 1/2 cup of mint batter. Add about 1/4 cup of white batter, followed by 1/4 cup of mint batter. Add about 2 tablespoons of white batter, followed by 2 tablespoons of mint batter.


  • Tightly wrap springform pan with foil and bake the cheesecake in a water bath, tented with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, but check it after 30 minutes. It is done when the center is set and giggles like Jell-o. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, still sitting in the water bath.


  • Remove the pan from water and foil.


  • To make topping: Mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread the mixture over the top of cheesecake and return to the oven for 10 minutes.


  • Before cake cools, run a paring knife around the edge so that the cake can shrink away from the pan without cracking.


    (Source: cookingchanneltv.com)





    Prep: 20 minutes, plus freezing


    Makes 12 servings



    20 Oreo cookies, crushed


    1/4 cup butter, melted


    10 mint Andes candies, melted


    1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, divided


    1 jar (11-3/4 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping



  • In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press half of the mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Spread melted candies over crust. Top with half of the ice cream.


  • Place 1/4 cup hot fudge topping in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving. In another bowl, combine remaining topping and crumb mixture; spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.


  • Top with remaining ice cream. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight until firm. Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving. Warm reserved fudge topping and use to garnish torte.


    (Source: tasteofhome.com)





    Prep: 30 minutes, plus chilling


    Makes 15 servings



    1-1/4 cups biscuit/baking mix


    1/2 cup chopped walnuts


    1 tablespoon brown sugar


    3 tablespoons cold butter


    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened


    1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, divided


    1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped, divided


    2-1/2 cups cold milk


    2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant pistachio pudding mix


    Chocolate curls, optional



  • In a small bowl, combine the biscuit mix, walnuts and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.


  • Press into an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.


  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Fold in half of the whipped cream; spread over crust. Stir remaining confectioners' sugar into remaining whipped cream; refrigerate until serving.


  • In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spread over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


  • Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired.


    (Source: tasteofhome.com)





    Total time: 20 minutes


    Makes 8 servings



    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened


    1 cup confectioners' sugar


    1-1/2 cups whipped topping


    1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix


    10 pecan shortbread cookies, coarsely crushed




  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Fold in whipped topping; set aside. Prepare pudding according to package directions; set aside.


  • Spoon 1 tablespoon cookie crumbs into each of eight parfait glasses. Top with half of the pudding and whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cookie crumbs. Chill until serving. Yield: 8 servings.


    (Source: tasteofhome.com)





    Prep time: 25 minutes


    Baking time: 45 minutes


    Makes 12 servings



    1 cup Guinness (dark beer)


    1/2 cup butter, cubed


    2 cups sugar


    3/4 cup baking cocoa


    2 eggs, beaten


    2/3 cup sour cream


    3 teaspoons vanilla extract


    2 cups all-purpose flour


    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda



    For the topping:


    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened


    1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream



  • Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside.


  • In a small saucepan, heat beer and butter until butter is melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in sugar and cocoa until blended. Combine the eggs, sour cream and vanilla; whisk into beer mixture. Combine flour and baking soda; whisk into beer mixture until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.


  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan.


  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and cream; beat until smooth (do not over-beat). Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake so it resembles a frothy pint of beer. Refrigerate leftovers.


    (Source: tasteofhome.com)



  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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