Halloween Barm Brack

Richie Wilson bakes a brack which will have them queuing up for more.

Ingredients


  • 450 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 225 g mixed dried fruit
  • 1 each large egg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 l hot irish breakfast tea

Surprise ingredients
  • a gold ring (predicts a marriage in the coming year)
  • a coin (predicts wealth)
  • a piece of cloth (predicts poverty)
  • a thimble (predicts spinsterhood)
  • a button (predicts bachelorhood)

Method

  1. Begin by pouring the hot tea over the dried fruit, stir well before covering and leavening to soak overnight.
  2. When the fruit is ready, mix the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl, giving them a slight whisk to add a little air to the brack.
  3. Drain the excess tea from the fruit and add in the egg and sugar mix.
  4. Add the baking powder and spice mix to the flour and sift this into the fruit mix, stirring gently all the while.
  5. Knead the dough gentle now so as not to break up the fruit.
  6. Line a 7” baking tin and place in the dough evenly throughout. I think it best to add the surprise ingredients at this point, this way you can ensure that they are spread throughout the whole brack.
  7. Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees before placing the brack in the centre of the oven.
  8. Bake for approximately 70 minutes, you can check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean it’s ready.
  9. Remove from the oven and tin before cooling on a wire rack. In my house my mother always cut the brack and buttered before serving, ensuring that no one else would know where the surprise ingredients where! Good Luck!
NB: For the surprise ingredients
  1. The items in the brack vary from house to house and different regions, some use a pea and a bean for wealth and poverty and a thimble for spinsterhood.
  2. You can put in or leave out these special ingredients as you desire or as your own tradition would have it. It is important these ingredients are all clean and wrapped tightly in parchment paper before adding to the mix once you have put it into the tin.

Watch



Notes:

Richie's top tips: Soak the fruit in hot tea over night. Ensure your "surprise" ingredients are clean and well wrapped in parchment paper. Don't over knead the dough, it will cause the fruit to break up and dry out during baking. Make the brack a few days in advance(up to one week, this time will give the brack much more depth of flavor.  Place the "surprise" ingredients into the dough when it is in the tin. Firstly this will evenly distribute them but always there is less chance of them coming loose from their wrapping





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