Barm Brack - Irish bread with currants Recipe
Barm Brack - Irish bread with currants
Flavors of Ireland
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Prep. time: 15 minutes
Macerating time: 6 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 90 minutes

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

This lovely moreish fruity bread known as Barm Brack is often called simply as Brack. Everyone knows what it means, as it is one of their most famous bakery products. The Gaelic name is báirín breac, or ‘speckled loaf,’ referring to the speckles of fruit in the cake.

Traditionally, Barm Brack was stuffed with charms before baking, with significance for those who found them in their slice: the ring meant you’d be married within the year, the pea the opposite; the stick foretold dispute, the silver coin good fortune and a piece of cloth suggested you’d be better off hiding under the duvet for the foreseeable future. Not bad going for a mere fruitcake.

For one loaf

- 225 g flour
- 150 g light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 Tsp. nutmeg
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 Tsp. salt

- 200 g currants
- 200 g sultanas
- 350 ml strong black tea like Irish Breakfast tea (1)

Halloween version
- 50 to 75 g candied peel
- 25 g almonds and / or candied cherries
- replace 50 ml irish tea by 50 ml of good whiskey

Step 1

  • Put the currants and sultanas in a large heatproof bowl, pour over the tea and whiskey, if using, then leave to soak for at least six hours or leave overnight.

Step 2

  • Heat the oven to 180°C /350°F.
  • Grease and line a 13cm x 20cm loaf tin.

Step 3

  • Chopped the candied fruit and peel. Stir with almonds (if using) into the soaked fruit.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, spices and salt, making sure you break up any lumps in the sugar.
  • Then stir into the fruit.
  • Then stir the beaten egg. Mix well.

Step 4

  • Tip the loaf mix into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 90 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. If the top looks to be going too dark or burning on top towards the end, cover with foil.

Step 5

  • Take out of the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a baking rack.
  • Cover in cling wrap and tin foil and allow to sit for one to two days before cutting into it. Serve in slices spread with a little butter and serve with a cup of Irish tea.
More recipe ideas

Photo : ID 36875358 / Brent Hofacker / MSCOMM

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