Halloween barmbrack

Recipe by:

Darina Allen

Everyone in Ireland loves a barmbrack, perhaps because it brings back lots of memories of excitement and games at Halloween - make sure to include a stick, a pea and a ring

Halloween barmbrack

SERVES

8

PEOPLE

PREP TIME

45

MINUTES

COOKING TIME

30

MINUTES

CUISINE

COURSE

Baking

Method

  1. For Halloween, ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, all wrapped in greaseproof paper. It’s a help if all utensils are warm before starting to make barmbrack.

  2. Sieve the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter. Mix the yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of tepid milk and leave for 4–5 minutes, until it becomes creamy and slightly bubbly. Add the caster sugar to the flour mixture and mix well. Pour the tepid milk and the egg into the yeast mixture, then add to the flour. Knead well either by hand or in the warmed bowl of an electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be stiff but elastic.

  3. Fold in the dried fruit and peel, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back again for 2-3 minutes. Grease the loaf tins and divide the dough between them. Add the ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, tucking them well in and ensure they are hidden by the dough. Cover again and leave to rise for about 30-45 minutes until well puffed up.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  5. Bake for about one hour or until golden and fully cooked. Glaze the top with bun wash, put back into the oven for about 2 or 3 minutes. Turn out to cool on a wire tray. When cool serve cut into thick slices with butter. Barmbrack keeps well, but if it gets a little stale, try it toasted or in a bread and butter pudding. To make the bun wash, put the water and sugar into a pan and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven to give them a sweet, sticky glaze.

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white baker's flour

  • ½ level tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ level tsp mixed spice

  • ¼ t nsputmeg

  • pinch of salt

  • 25g butter

  • 20g fresh yeast + 1 tsp sugar + 1 tsp tepid milk

  • 75g caster sugar

  • 300ml tepid milk

  • 1 egg, whisked

  • 225g sultanas

  • 110g currants

  • 50g candied peel chopped

  • For the bun wash:

  • 150ml water

  • 110g sugar

  • Equipment:

  • two 12.5 x 20cm (5 x 8in) loaf tins

Method

  1. For Halloween, ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, all wrapped in greaseproof paper. It’s a help if all utensils are warm before starting to make barmbrack.

  2. Sieve the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter. Mix the yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of tepid milk and leave for 4–5 minutes, until it becomes creamy and slightly bubbly. Add the caster sugar to the flour mixture and mix well. Pour the tepid milk and the egg into the yeast mixture, then add to the flour. Knead well either by hand or in the warmed bowl of an electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be stiff but elastic.

  3. Fold in the dried fruit and peel, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back again for 2-3 minutes. Grease the loaf tins and divide the dough between them. Add the ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, tucking them well in and ensure they are hidden by the dough. Cover again and leave to rise for about 30-45 minutes until well puffed up.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  5. Bake for about one hour or until golden and fully cooked. Glaze the top with bun wash, put back into the oven for about 2 or 3 minutes. Turn out to cool on a wire tray. When cool serve cut into thick slices with butter. Barmbrack keeps well, but if it gets a little stale, try it toasted or in a bread and butter pudding. To make the bun wash, put the water and sugar into a pan and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven to give them a sweet, sticky glaze.