Happy Hallowe’en :-)

Hallowe'en windo display at Pauls on Bedford Street

I am looking forward to re-watching my well-worn DVD of The Crow and having toasted slices of Báirín Breac with its mixed spices and hope not to chip my teeth on the toy ring that they put in them.

You can make your own at home if you have access to an oven and enough time. This recipe is from A Little Irish Cookbook by J Murphy.

Barm Brack

Cream the yeast and the sugar and allow to froth up in the milk, which should be at blood heat. Sieve the flour, caster sugar and spice and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and Barmbrackthe egg, beaten. Beat with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes until a good dough forms. The fruit and the salt should be worked in by hand; the gold ring wrapped in greaseproof paper should then be added, and the whole kneaded. Put in a warm bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.

1/4 pt/ 125 ml/ 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh yeast
8 oz/ 250 g/ 2 cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice, pinch salt
1 egg, 3 tbsp butter
6 oz/ 200 g/ 2 cups mixed fruit
(currants, sultanas, raisins, candied peel)
1 gold ring (in greaseproof paper)
2 oz/50 g/2 tbsp caster sugar

Knead lightly and place in a lightly-greased 7 in /15 cm diameter cake tin and allow a further 30 minutes rising time. Bake near the top of a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C for 45 minutes. On removing from the oven the brack can be glazed with a syrup made from 2 tsp sugar dissolved in 3 tsp boiling water.