In the weeks leading up to Halloween homes are littered with the delicious treat known as barmbrack which is an Irish fruit loaf. The title comes from the Irish ‘bairín breac’ which literally means speckled loaf. In traditional Ireland each member of the family would get a slice of the delicious cake. But you had to be careful when chewing the delicious treat as there were several charms hidden in the cake wrapped in baking paper which signified an omen for the finders future.
If you found a ring you’re in for some romance. If you got the coin then you were in for a prosperous year, but if you found the rag than your financial future was in doubt. If you find the thimble then you will never marry! Nowadays all barnbracks sold in Irish shops around Halloween contain a ring.
375g dried fruit
300ml cold tea
225g self-raising flour
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon mixed spice
125g caster sugar
honey or Golden Syrup (optional – for decoration)
Soak the fruit in tea overnight, then drain. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients (apart from the honey/golden syrup) and stir in the charms. Don’t over knead the dough, or your delicately re-hydrated fruit will break up.
Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin or 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Grease the tin and pile in the mixture.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about an hour until risen and firm to the touch.
You can brush melted honey or golden syrup over the brack before cutting. Or glaze the brack with a syrup made from two teaspoons of sugar dissolved in three teaspoons of boiling water.