Submitted by Kat Behling
A traditional Halloween treat is the Barmbrack Cake (or “Bairin Breac”). The dense bread is served year-round, but the Halloween tradition inspires a fruitcake baked with a piece of rag, a gold ring and a silver coin that is shared by the family after dinner.
Great interest is taken in the hidden trinkets and their ability to foretell the future. Beware if you get the slice with the rag, for your financial future is in doubt. However, if you reap the slice with the coin, you can look forward to a most prosperous year. And the slice with the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness.
Halloween Barmbrack Cake
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice (a mixture of spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ginger)
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 tbs butter
1 pkg (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg beaten
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/3 cup candied peel
ring, coin, thin piece of rag all wrapped in parchment paper
1 egg yolk
1 tbs sugar
Sift the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers (or a pastry blender) work butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs
In a small saucepan, warm the milk (do not get it too hot).
In another medium bowl, mix yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Then add one teaspoon of warm milk. Stir and allow to rest for 4 minutes until bubbles form. Then add the remaining warm milk and egg to the yeast mixture.
Add remaining sugar to flour mixture and add yeast mixture. Knead until stiff and elastic. Fold in raisins, currants and candied peel. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until dough doubles in size (about 1 hour).
Punch down dough and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide dough into two balls and place in two loaf pans. Add ring, coin and rag in the dough. Allow to rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix egg yolk, water and 2 tablespoons of sugar and brush over loaf. Bake for 1 hour or until golden.
Slow But Easy Brambrack Recipe
1 cup currants
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cold tea
Mix the above ingredients together, cover and soak overnight.
The next day, prepare the following:
1-1/2 cup flour
1 level tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. mixed spice (i.e. cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)
Add flour, baking powder and spice to soaked fruit mixture. Mix in beaten egg. Spoon mixture into a well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1-1/2 hours. When cool, brush top with warmed honey for a beautiful glaze.