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IRISH BARMBRACK

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox
around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there
would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it. I
always like to think it was Barmbrack that inspired the writers of Father Ted to come up
with the episode where Mrs. Doyle bakes a jumper into a cake! This recipe makes a
really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit,
which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.
Adapted by SGP to include All Bran.
Ingredients

375 g (13oz) packet of mixed dried fruit (may use 500 gms)

50 ml (2fl oz) whiskey

250 ml (9fl oz) cold tea

butter, for greasing

2 tsp baking powder

125 g (4.4oz) plain flour

100 g (3oz) All Bran

125 g (4oz) soft light brown sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice (or ginger)

1 large egg

a ring, to place inside (optional)

Method
1. Place the mixed dried fruit, with the All Bran, in a bowl and pour over the
whiskey and cold tea. Allow to soak up the liquid overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 3). Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl. Make a
well and break in the egg, then use a wooden spoon to mix it with the dry
ingredients. Add a little bit of the liquid from the mixed fruit and mix it through.
You may not need all the liquid, though you are looking for a wet dough.
4. Stir in the mixed fruit until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the ring and
stir through. Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin, place on the middle
shelf in the oven, after 10 minutes turn down to 160C (Gas mark 3/325F),
and bake for another hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the loaf tin and
placing on wire rack. Cover in cling film and foil and allow to sit for 12 days before
cutting into it. Serve in slices, spread with a little butter and accompanied by a good
cuppa!
ALL BRAN FRUIT CAKE
Ingredients
Makes: 1 All-bran fruit loaf
E

140g (5 oz) All-bran

140g (5 oz) soft brown sugar (could be 70 grams if prefer less sweet)

140g (5 oz) mixed dried fruit

140ml (5 fl oz) milk

140g (5 oz) self raising flour


Method
Prep:5min Cook:45min Extra time:30min soaking Ready in:1hr20min
1 Soak the All-bran, brown sugar and mixed fruit in the milk for 30 minutes.
2 Mixture should be thick and gloopy if not add some more milk
3 Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a 450g (1 lb) loaf tin.
4 Add the flour to the All-bran mixture and stir well. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
5 Bake for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre
comes out clean. Could be up to an hour
Allow to cool on a rack before slicing and serving.
Baking Powder:
teaspoon cream of tartar PLUS teaspoon bicarbonate of soda EQUALS 1 teaspoon of
baking powder
Self raising flour = 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 110 grams flour
RAISIN BRAN BREAD
3 c. milk
3 tbsp. oil
2 c. All Bran cereal
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. salt
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. chopped pecans
Flour (about 5 to 6 c.)
In a medium saucepan, combine oil and milk, let come to a boil, and pour over cereal,
sugar and salt. Allow to cool until lukewarm.
In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; add raisins.
In a large bowl, combine cooled mixture from saucepan with yeast. Stir in only enough
flour to make a thick dough. Dough will be somewhat sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. Then, punch dough down
to deflate and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead in raisins and pecans
and enough flour so that dough can be handled.
Form and stretch dough out into a log shape the size of a bread loaf pan. Slam onto
cabinet several times then place in greased loaf pans.
Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Bake in 350F oven for 1 hour.
Submitted by: Belle

Servings: 30 slices (3 loaves)


MOLASSES - BRAN BREAD
2 (1/4 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast, 2 tbsp.
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 1/3 c. warm water (110F, 45C)
2/3 c. non-fat milk powder
1/2 c. dark molasses or honey
1/3 c. butter, melted or butter
2 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
6 3/4 to 7 1/4 c. all purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 c. unprocessed bran flakes or oat bran flakes
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. dark molasses blended with 1 tbsp. melted butter for glaze
Unprocessed bran flakes, if desired
In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast and brown sugar in water. Let stand until
foamy, 5-10 minutes. Add milk powder, molasses or honey, butter, salt, ginger, and 4 to 4
1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 2 minutes
or, beat 200 vigorous strokes by hand. Stir in bran flakes, whole wheat flour, and enough
remaining all purpose or bread flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Clean and grease bowl; set aside. Knead
dough 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to
coat all sides. Cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in warm place, free from
drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Grease 1 large baking sheets; set aside.
Punch down dough; knead 30 seconds. Divide dough in half; shape into oval loaves. Place
in prepared baking sheets. With pointed scissors, cut diagonal notches in a zig-zag
pattern in tops of loaves, every 1 1/2 inches. Cover with a dry towel. Let rise until
doubled in bulk, 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush with molasses glaze. If desired, sprinkle with
additional bran flakes. Bake 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on
bottom. Remove from pans. Cool on racks. Makes 2 free form or regular loaves.
RECIPE: MY GRANS BARMBRACK CAKE
Today Im going to share a family recipe with you. This was passed on from my Gran to
my Mum, and then on to me, with each of us making little modifications along the way.
From a quick look at google, it would seem that officially barmbrack is actually
a traditional Irish yeasted bread, usually made around Halloween, but our version is
definitely cake!
I love this recipe both because of the childhood memories attached to it (every time we
went away on holiday Mum made a couple of these to take with us; no picnic was
complete without a couple of slices of barmbrack!), and also because its actually pretty
healthy, for cake! It is largely made of fruit, it has no added fat and not a huge
amount of added sugar either, as cakes go. Its also dairy free, which is a bonus for us as
my husband has a dairy free diet.
Ingredients:

500g mixed dried fruit (I used organic mixed vine fruits)

1/2 pint very strong tea

200g brown sugar

couple of tablespoons of marmalade (optional)

400g self-raising flour

1 egg

Make up 1/2 pint of strong tea. Let the tea-bags soak for as long as possible so that it is
really strong. Put the fruit, brown sugar and marmalade (if using) into a bowl. I also
added glace cherries because my husband loves them.
Add the tea to the bowl (removing tea-bags first!), mix it all together so that the fruit is
covered by the liquid, then cover the bowl and leave to soak overnight.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 180C (Gas mark 4/350F). Grease a cake or loaf
tin, and line the base. I use a 20cm (8) round cake tin, but a slightly smaller one or any
other shape should be fine. Break the egg into the fruit/tea mix, and stir in, then add
the flour, stirring until it is completely mixed in. Tip the mixture into your prepared
cake tin.
Place in the preheated oven 180C (Gas mark 4/350F). After 10 minutes turn down to
160C (Gas mark 3/325F), and bake for another hour. Check with a skewer if it comes
out clean then it is ready, if not bake for up to 1/2 hour longer, checking every 10
minutes until the skewer comes out clean. Turn the cake out of the tin and leave to cool
on a wire rack.
This cake is best served cut into slices and buttered, although is also tasty without the
butter (and lower fat, obviously!). Kept in an airtight tin it will keep for ages, although I
cant be specific because ours never lasts very long! It would be a great thing to use as a
special treat in a healthy lunchbox.
BRAN BRACK IRISH TEA BREAD
This is a very old recipe the original of which my mother still has, written out in my
childhood handwriting. I was probably about eight, or so I seem to remember that it
came from the Girl Guides, but I might be wrong! It is called a Tea Bread: both made
with tea and eaten for tea. Bran Brack is also sometimes known as Bara Brith or Barm
Brack and before you ask, I know that bran is not listed below. (I havent missed an
ingredient from the original recipe when I typed it in!)
It is really important not to omit the soaking in tea, preferably overnight: essential for
re-hydrating and plumping up the dried fruit. Providing you have thought ahead and
done this Bran Brack is a simple and quick cake to make and is very moist with a high
proportion of dried mixed fruit. The quantity of fruit could be reduced but it is this
generous amount that makes Bran Brack so delicious. The tea needs to be fairly strong:
strain off tea left over in the teapot until there is enough to make a cake! I use a
standard, everyday tea: we drink Sainsburys Red Label (preferably the loose version)
which is Fairly Traded. (Substituting speciality teas could give a different flavour, but I
have not experimented with this alternative.) Butcher, Baker has a recipe for Bara Brith
including about 2tbsp marmalade, which sounds good, but have not tried it. A teaspoon
of mixed spice could also be added for flavour. It is worth doubling the quantity to make
a larger cake, or perhaps two cakes. Bran Brack keeps fairly well but once made it gets
eaten very quickly. Bran Brack is a fat free cake/tea loaf. It is, however, delicious
spread with butter, especially if eaten fresh and slightly warm. Please note that the
original quantities were written as Imperial measurements and the metric is as close as I
can get.

(makes 1 x aprox 2lb loaf)


12ozs/375g Mixed Dried Fruit
8fl ozs/225ml strong cold tea
4ozs/115g soft dark brown sugar
8ozs/225g Self Raising flour
1 egg
1. Soak the fruit and sugar in the cold tea, preferably overnight.
2. Pre-heat oven to 170oC/325oF/Gas 3
3. Line a 2lb loaf tin.
4. Mix the egg and the flour with the ingredients that have been soaking overnight.
5. Pour into the prepared tin.
6. Bake for around 55 mins 1 hour and turn out when cool. Cool on wire tray.
BARA BRITH
Im a bit of a melting pot. Half English, Half Welsh but with German influences from the
3 years I spent living there; so for all the Welsh people out there, an albeit belated,
Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapusor Happy Saint Davids Day for you non-Welsh speakers. To
celebrate I made Bara Brith and lobscowse (a Welsh version of Scouse).
Bara Brith, translated literally, means speckled bread and is a traditional cake in Wales.
There are essentially two types of Bara Brith. A version made with yeast, or a longer
lasting version made with self-raising flour. I opted for the self-raising flour version as
there is only 2 of us to eat it and wanted it to last.
After some searching around I came across an authentic sounding recipe. Few problems,
it wasnt particularly well written and the recipe stated a 1lb loaf tin. No way was all
the cake mix going to fit so used my baking experience and put it in a 2lb loaf tin
instead. Im glad I did as it filled a 2lb tin perfectly.
I only have feint memories of Bara Brith so wasnt totally sure what it was meant to
taste like, but I think I certainly got close with this cake. It was a surprisingly delicious
cake, with a pleasant marmalade taste throughout the slice. The texture was also just
right, perfect for lunchboxes. Not bad considering I was winging it towards the end of
the recipe! It looks similar to my banana bread that I made last week, but it tastes very
much different.
Bara Brith
Makes a 2lb loaf

450g mixed fruit


300ml strong tea
450g self-raising flour
2 tbsp marmalade
1 egg
1 tsp mixed spice
6 tbsp muscovado sugar
honey, for glazing
1) Soak the fruit in the tea overnight. Dont drain!
2) Preheat oven to 170oc and line a 2lb loaf tin. In a large bowl mix together the tea
soaked fruit, the remaining tea, flour, marmalade, egg, mixed spice and sugar. Pour into
the tin and bake for 1.5 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is browning
too much, cover with foil.
3) Once cake is baked, allow to sit for 5 min before removing from the tin, then brush
with the honey to get a shiny glaze. Allow to cool fully before slicing.