Shawn Kelvin, a blithe young lad of 20, went to the States to seek his fortune. And 15 years thereafter he returned to his native Kerry, his blitheness sobered and his youth dried to the core, and whether he had made his fortune or whether he had not no one could be knowing for certain. For he was a quiet man, not given to talking about himself and the things he had done. A quiet man, under middle size, with strong shoulders and deep-set blue eyes below brows darker than his dark hair – that was Shawn Kelvin. One shoulder had a trick of hunching slightly higher than the other, and some folks said that it came from a habit he had of shielding his eyes in the glare of an open-hearth furnace in a place called Pittsburgh, while others said it used to be a way he had of guarding his chin that time he was a sort of sparring-partner punching bag at a boxing camp.
These are the opening lines of “The Quiet Man,” a short story by Maurice Walsh. The story was a staple of sophomore English when I taught it back in the day. It was never my favorite piece of literature to teach but I always liked to show the film. As I remember (and my recollection may be a bit skewed), it seemed that the kids always liked the film, especially the boys because of the brawl toward the end of the film.
I was a little surprised to see that the film The Quiet Man was our March Food ‘n Flix selection. Joanne from What’s On The List? is our host this month. (You can see her announcement post here.) I couldn’t really remember how food played a role in the film at all. Then it dawned on me. Joanne is so smart to host such an Irish film in March. You know…St Paddy’s Day and all. I am a little slow at times. And what a classic it is starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, directed by John Ford.
You can click here for the full story. For a thirty second synopsis: Shawn (Wayne) is an expat American returning to his Irish roots. He marries the fiery Kate (O’Hara) against her brother’s wishes. Will, her brother, refuses to relinquish the dowry as is the Irish custom. Shawn doesn’t care but Kate continually nags him to confront her brother and obtain the dowry.
That’s it….if you haven’t seen it, I will leave you to figure out how this conflict is resolved. (It does result in some physical force.)
I decided that I would search for a quintessential Irish recipe for this post to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and to highlight the Irishness of the film.
Would I choose Colcannon or Irish Soda Bread or Corned Beef and Cabbage? I was unsure as to what direction to go.
Then I found this recipe.
What could be more Irish than a Guinness and Bailey’s and Jameson’s cupcake?
St. Patrick’s Day Spiked Cupcakes
based on Guiness, Bailey’s and Whiskey Chocolate Cupcakes
1 c. Guinness
1 stick plus 1 T. of unsalted butter
2 c. dark brown sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Pour Guinness in a large sauce pan. Add the butter and heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and brown sugar.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Carefully pour in the beer mixture and continue to beat.
Sift together the flour and baking soda (or just whisk together in a separate mixing bowl). Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.
Scoop into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, remove them from the muffin tin and let them cool completely on a rack.
This recipe makes 24 regular size cupcakes.
While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting (and take a swig if needed).
Boozy Irish Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3 c. powdered sugar
2 T. Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 T. Jameson’s Irish Whiskey
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium-to-high speed for a few minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add booze and mix at lower speed. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing on a low speed until smooth.
Frost cooled cupcakes.
Maybe if Mary Kate had just made these cupcakes for Shawn instead of nagging him about obtaining the dowry, Sean wouldn’t have had to confront Will. Cupcakes can solve a multitude of problems, even family squabbles and fist fights.
However, these cupcakes pack their own punch.