I'm a real Christmas fan, but I felt it was only right to mark Halloween by baking some suitably spooky and traditional treats. Any excuse to bake right?
First off, I decided to give Barm Brack a go...we usually had tea brack in my house, so brack made with yeast was always a little bit special at Halloween..
I was feeling a bit lazy, so used the first recipe I came across on the RTE website, but as usual, added some personal touches to make it even better. Firstly, I didn't have fresh yeast, so followed the interweb's instruction that 1 ounce fresh yeast = 0.45 ounce active dry yeast = 0.33 ounce quick acting dried yeast I love a really flavourful brack, so I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, and the zest of 1 large orange to the mixture.
Since I was using quick acting yeast, there was no need to add the yeast to the milk to prove, so this method is a little different to the one on the website above.
Start by sieving the flour, caster sugar and spices Rub in the butter, and add the dried yeast. Make a well in the centre and beat in milk, egg and zest. Once you have a dough, knead in the dried fruit and salt. Knead for 5 mins (I used the dough hook on my mixer cos I'm lazy!)
Cover the dough with lightly greased cling film (resting directly on top rather than across the bowl). Leave to rise for 30 minutes, before kneading again gently and shaping into a round.
Place on baking tray, and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Once you remove the baked brack from the oven, glaze the top immediately. For the glaze I used 2 tbsp of sugar dissolved in 3tbsp of orange juice and 1 tbsp of marmalade. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of the brack, and leave to cool (if you can resist the smell). I couldn't and as soon as I was sure I wasn't going to burn my fingers, had to cut a slice... warm brack with butter....YUM!