Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

WINTER may have landed on us straight from summer, but the arrival of bracks in the shops brings a lovely autumnal glow.

Toasted brack slathered with butter is hard to beat, though my latest favourite has a few added vitamins and less calories! Peel and core a few cooking apples and cut into cubes. Place in a saucepan with a little sugar or honey and just enough water to cover the bottom – a tablespoon should be enough. Cover with a lid and allow the apples to steam for five minutes or until nearly a pulp. Use this to top the toasted brack slices – no need for butter.

I finish mine off with a little apple jelly. I use this mix hot or cold, so a large batch of apples can be cooked and kept for a few days.

For those who like to make bread, brack is not difficult to make at home. It’s a matter of adding some fruit and spices to a regular mix, and enriching it with a little butter.

Flavour and texture in a barm brack is a matter of personal preference. Strictly speaking a brack should have a fairly dry texture and not a lot of fruit, so we did not mark down those which had a low amount of fruit.

We looked for a texture that wasn’t papery dry and that had flavour in itself, like a good loaf of bread.

ABC Bakery, 670g €3.90

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

Weighing in at the heaviest of samples, this is a rich brack, satisfyingly laden with plump fruit, including lemon peel and cherries. With a hint of spices, the colour is dark and a nice, sticky glaze finishes it well. All tasters put this top of their list for its richness. Contains a spooky novelty ring. Available at their stall at Cork’s English Market and in Dunnes Stores.

Score: 9

Hassetts Bakery, 590g €4.95

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

This brack contains plenty of the fortune telling symbols – ring (marriage to happen this year), bean (poverty), pea (no marriage this year) and stick (arguments in marriage). A smooth light icing tops a sizeable brack and a moderate amount of fruit includes dried peel. Tasters liked the spiciness and especially the decent crust.

Score: 9

O’Sullivans Bakery, 650g €3.85

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

A moderate amount of fruit in this Kerry Brack includes peel in quite a moist bread which has a hint of vanilla, giving it a rich flavour. Tasters liked this extra touch. Available throughout Kerry in supermarkets and small grocers.

Score: 9

Tesco Finest, 454g €2.99

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

A decent amount of fruit gives this brack quite a moist texture and there is a gentle kick of ginger. A pleasant brack with good flavour.

Score: 8.5

Aldi Ballymore Crust, 454g 99c

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

With ring, this light brown coloured brack had a moderate amount of fruit and a little orange and lemon peel, but no spices. Quite dry in texture, but a pleasant brack for the price.

Score: 7

Old Mill, 400g €2.50

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

A light coloured brack and quite light too on fruit which includes mixed peel, so a traditionally dry style of brack liked better by tasters when toasted. Contains a ring.

Score: 6.75

Rankin, 470g €3.15

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

An appetising light sticky glaze tops a moderately fruited brack with no ring.

Flecked with tiny pieces of stem ginger, it’s tasty and quite moist. Made by Irwins bakery in Co Armagh.

Score: 7.5

Lidl Connell Bakery, 440g 99c

Top 8 bracks put to the taste test

A light coloured brack, it’s quite light on fruit too and is a dry style of brack which is traditional, but not liked by tasters as much as other samples. Contains a ring.

Score: 6.75


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