Contact Us

Visit us at one of our three store locations to find Irish Jewelry, Claddagh Rings, Irish Sweaters, Irish Foods, Guinness Products, Waterford and Belleek.

Call us at one of the numbers below or use the accompanying form to contact us.

The Irish Boutique - Long Grove, IL (847 634 3540)

Paddy's on the Square - Long Grove, IL (847 634 0339)

The Irish Boutique - Crystal Lake, IL (815 459 1800)

 

847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

Cooking Blog

Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 

 

Homemade Dessert Night

john barry

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The little ones have yet to understand how much time it takes to say, bake a cake. They think that it if they will cake to appear, it will.  For the longest time they would ask me to bake them something for dessert on weeknights, when there was barely enough time left for a book before bedtime, let alone homemade dessert.  Besides, we really shouldn’t be eating dessert on weeknights anyway should we? Though I sometimes secretly wish it was the 60’s and we ate homemade desserts every night. Who would make them? Not me.  I finally put a stop to all of the asking by instituting the “Homemade Dessert Night” on the weekend. I started to suggest to them that we pick out a homemade dessert to make on either Saturday or Sunday when we have the time for such a project.

This has helped to teach them that desserts, like most things in life, do not materialize out of thin air and has become a fun activity that we all look forward to. We start by selecting a baking book and then a recipe to try. Then we assemble all of the ingredients we need and measure them out so that when it’s time to do the baking, it’s a relatively simple affair.  And, when things go well, not too messy. A couple of weeks ago we made Rachel Allen’s molten lava cakes from her awesome book “Bake” which were such a resounding success that, well, the lack of photographic evidence speaks for itself.

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Then last weekend we made Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake which you can find the recipe for here.  I halved the recipe and again, the cake didn’t last long enough to get any “after” photos. In fact, only a tiny sliver was left to share with family the next day.  The baked cake itself was no beauty. Due to its super moist batter, it sinks quite a bit in the middle, but it’s oh so delicious - the perfect cake for “Homemade Dessert Night”. Easy, simple and impossible to mess up, especially since it’s not meant to be pretty anyway.

Any amount of time when you are waiting for a homemade dessert to come out of the oven is a long time.  When you’re talking about he five and under set, any amount of time is a long time. Period. So it’s not easy. But, when it’s all said and done, it is gratifying to make something delicious from scratch. Try it, I promise it's worth the wait! 

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Bakewell Tart

john barry

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I don't know about you, but I am loving this spring weather.  After what seems like one of the longest winters ever, I'm so happy to see it FINALLY getting into the 60s and 70s - not to mention all of the sunshine! It makes such a big difference in my mood, outlook, well, everything. The recipe I'm featuring today is great for this time of year in Chicago. Fresh fruit hasn't hit the market quite yet, at least nothing locally produced, but it feels like time to have some fruit in our dessert just the same. Enter the Bakewell Tart. Homey and comforting without the heaviness of hibernation fare. Fruity but not in the refreshing way we want our sweets to be during summer. Just right for now. 

Ever since coming up with this tart crust, I have been thinking of ways to use it in both sweet and savory dishes. This classic Bakewell Tart was one of the first things that came to mind. I absolutely love the combination of almonds and fruit - which goes beautifully with the nutty whole grain crust featured here. Another variation that I am anxious to try is chocolate hazelnut subbing chocolate for the jam and hazelnuts for the almonds in both the filling and topping. 

The recipe below is super-simple.  The tart itself is rustic, yet pretty enough for company. It didn't last long in our house. 

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Bakewell Tart

Yields one 7-inch tart about 6 servings.

One blind baked and cooled tart shell recipe here

For filling:

  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese (full fat)
  • 4 oz almond paste
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 1/4 teaspoon if using granulated salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • Preserves of your choice (I think apricot, strawberry, raspberry or marmalade would all work well)

Preheat oven to 350F.  

Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, almond paste, flour,  sugar and almond extract until fluffy, light in color and well-combined, about 5 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of preserves over the surface of your blind baked tart shell.

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Spread almond paste over the preserves. 

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Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

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Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes. Start checking the tart after about 20 minutes and loosely cover with foil if the top is getting too brown. 

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Phyllo Meat Pie

john barry

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My brother-in-law John, is crazy about meat pies. It’s sort of a joke between Paul and I because every weekend, it seems, John is telling us a story about how he was hunting down more meat pies in far flung locations. I wish I could find a “Will travel for meat pies!” bumper sticker, because he needs one.

I’m pretty sure John doesn’t even realize that he is obsessed with meat pies, so I’m kind of letting the cat out of the bag here. But, the other day, after one of his, “So, I was on the south side and man, this meat pie I had was…” stories, I decided that I really should look up recipes to try out on our meat pie connoisseur.

Of course once I dove down the rabbit-hole (i.e. internet) looking for recipes, the meat pie that appealed most to me didn’t look much like what I had been looking for in the first place. I found a recipe for a phyllo-crusted ground beef pie with allspice and onions. Two things intrigued me about the recipe. First, you only have to brush every third or fourth sheet of phyllo with butter or oil, saving both time and calories. And second, just before putting it in the oven you pour a milk and egg mixture over the whole thing.

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For years, I was intimidated by phyllo dough - all those paper thin sheets! But I’ve learned that using store-bought phyllo could not be easier.  Easy enough to make this phyllo meat pie on a weeknight, no problem. Once I started the process, I changed a bunch of things, added two types of cheese and za’atar spice mix for more flavor oomph.  

I still haven’t found the perfect recipe for the steak and ale pie of John’s dreams - feel free to send me yours - but my Paul and I really enjoyed this version.  Now I’m thinking that we should host a meat pie contest at Paddy’s on the Square. Grand prize is a date with John (kidding, well, maybe...).

Phyllo Meat Pie

serves 8

adapted from this recipe

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ⅔ cup grated mozzarella
  • ⅔ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 16 sheets of phyllo
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Add onion to a large saute pan and cook over medium low heat until it starts to turn transparent, about 5 minutes.

Turn heat up to medium high and add ground beef, salt and pepper, za’atar, allspice, thyme and crushed red pepper (if using).  

Cook until lightly browned and almost cooked through. Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 minutes more. Set meat mixture aside.

Melt butter and combine with olive oil in a small bowl.

Spray inside of baking dish with cooking spray and line with 3 to 4 sheets of phyllo dough, letting excess drape over the sides of the dish.

Brush top sheet of phyllo with butter-oil mixture.

Layer 3 to 4 more sheets on top and brush with butter-oil mixture. Repeat layering and brushing once more for a thicker crust.

Pour meat mixture into baking pan over the phyllo.

Dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and top with grated cheese, cilantro and parsley.  

Repeat layering of phyllo sheets to form the top crust of the pie, brushing with butter-oil mixture every 3 to 4 sheets as necessary.  

Fold overlap onto the top of the pie and sprinkle with salt.

With a sharp knife, cut through the top layer of the pie to form serving-sized squares. Do not cut all the way through the bottom sheets of phyllo.

In a separate bowl, beat egg and milk lightly and pour mixture evenly over pie.

Place pie in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until it is bubbling and golden brown on top.

Serve warm.

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