Halloween Special: Barmbrack
Updated: Mar 12
Barmbrack is the center of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game, where an item, usually a silver ring, is placed inside the bread, with the person who receives it considered to be fortunate. You can read more about it on Wiki.
This tea loaf really reminds me of the Xmas cake; it has the same dense and fruity citrusy intense flavors. Anyway, to make life easier, I am using high quality dried fruit mix. Be sure they are high quality; makes all the difference. If you wanna go to another route, you can purchase dried raisins, apricots, cranberries, lemon, or orange peels separately and combine them.
In case you are wondering, I am using dried fruits mix from Foodsterr.
The hardest part after baking is to wait for the tea loaf to be cooled and stored. It does taste better after 24 hrs. I kept it loosely wrapped and outta sight, so I wouldn't be tempted to slice and eat, cos I know once I start, I won't stop. These are usually served well with some butter spread and a cup of tea on the side. Without much further ado, let's get started with the recipe. Here I wish all you lovely people a very Happy Halloween!
Inspired By Donal Skehan
(Make 1 loaf)
Earl Grey, 2 Tea Bags
Irish Whiskey, 50g
High Quality Dried Fruit Mix, 375g
Unsalted Butter, For Greasing + Serving
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 200g
Wholemeal Flour, 25g
Baking Powder, 2 TSP
Light Muscovado Sugar, 60g
Demerara Sugar, 60g
Chinese 5 Spice Powder, 1/2 TSP
Sea Salt, Pinch
Pls visit my "How To Make Chinese 5 Spice" page for the recipe.
Brew earl grey with 250g of simmering water in a sauce pot.
Cover and steep the tea bags until the tea is slightly cooled.
Remove the tea bags.
*Do not be tempted to squeeze the tea bags to extract more tea. It will leave a bitter note.*
Add in whiskey and stir to combine well.
In a large bowl, add the dried fruits mix, followed by the tea mixture.
Stir the mixture to combine well making sure all the fruits are fully submerged.
Cover and let it sit at room temperature overnight for at least 24 hrs.
The next day, preheat the oven to 170 degree celsius or 340 fahrenheit.
Grease loaf pan with butter.
Line parchment paper with the sides overhanging. It will be easier to unmold.
Strain the fruits mixture thru a fine strainer over a bowl.
*Do not discard the liquid. It will be used at a later stage.*
In a large bowl, add flour, wholemeal, baking powder, sugar, 5 spice and salt.
Stir to combine well.
Create a well in the center.
Add in the egg and the mixed fruits.
Fold to combine well.
Add in the fruit's liquid, folding until it is very annoying to mix anymore.
You should have a wet and sticky dough, but not runny.
Transfer into the prepared loaf pan.
Smoothen the top with a spatula and run a knife in the center for even rising during the baking process.
Wack into the oven and bake for 1 hr, or until the top turns dark brown and pass the skewer test.
Remove from oven and set aside until completely cooled.
It will taste better the next day.
Loosely wrap the loaf pan with aluminum foil.
The next day, unmold, slice and serve.
You can also see that the Barmbrack has a glossy shine.
Spread the Barmbrack with some butter and serve with a cup of tea on the side.
Look at that glossy shine...
Tastes even better with a heaping spread of butter...