Food & Recipes

Barmbrack

Ingredients

  • 2 cups, Strong black tea
  • 2 cups, Dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel) 
  • 1 cup, Warm Milk
  • 1 package (1/4-ounce)Active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp Sugar 
  • 3 - 3 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 1lrg, Egg
  • 1/3 cup, Butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 tspSalt

8 inch round loaf

Method

  1. Place the tea and all the dried fruit in a bowl and let soak for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Mix the yeast, warm milk and 2 tsp of sugar together in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 min to activate the yeast.
  3. Sieve together the flour, sugar and mixed spice. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, beaten egg, butter and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until it becomes a dough.
    Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more milk if it is too dry.
  4. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky.
  5. Drain the dried fruit and knead a little at a time into the dough until all the fruit has been mixed into dough.  
  6. Remove the dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. Cover with a clean towel or clingfilm and set in a warm corner until mixture doubles in size - about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch down to deflate. Knead lightly for 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and placed in a buttered 8-inch cake pan. Cover with a towel or clingfilm and let mixture rise again until it doubles in size, 30-60 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
    Remove to a rack and cool.

Serve with butter and a cup of tea.

At Halloween, barmbrack is used to tell fortunes for the coming year.
In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin and a ring. Each item individually wrapped in greaseproof paper, carries a meaning:-
The pea, the person would not marry.
The stick, "to beat one's wife with" would have an unhappy marriage.
The cloth, the person would have bad luck or would be poor.
The coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich.
The ring, the person would be wed within the year.