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Barmbrack |



From the Gaelic bairín breac meaning speckled loaf, this is the perfect tea time treat for a spot of fortune telling on Halloween. Recipe from the National Trust


Prep time: Overnight

Cooking time: 1 hour

Makes: 1 loaf


Ingredients: 100g raisins

100g currants

100g sultanas

50g mixed candied peel

50g glace cherries

200g brown sugar

300ml cold black tea

1 lemon

2 eggs

250g self-raising flour

1tsp mixed spice

A pinch of salt


1. Soak it all in

Pop the dried fruit ( 100g raisins, 100g currants, 100g sultanas, 50g mixed candied peel and 50g glace cherries (quartered)) along with 200g brown sugar, 300ml cold black tea and the grated zest of the lemon into a bowl, give it a mix and leave to soak for at least three hours. We did ours overnight to get maximum flavour and juiciness





Your fruits should now be looking plump and gorgeous



2. Let's barmBAKE!

When you're ready to get baking, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease or line a 900g loaf tin.

Add the 2 eggs, 250g self-raising flour, 1tsp of your mums very own homemade mixed spice and a pinch of salt to the now not so dry dried fruit and stir it all together until you have a thoroughly combined batter. If you want to partake in a very traditional Halloween fortune-telling using the barmbrack, you also will need to include:

  • a pea

  • a stick

  • a piece of cloth

  • a small coin

  • a ring

  • and a bean

The meanings of which can be found on the Barmbrack wikipedia page. Please beware choking on almost all of the above if you do include them

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin


(we, as always, were unprepared with the size of our mixing bowl, so the fruits were mixed into the egg/flour/mixed spice mix. I don't think it matters too much which way round it goes)


Bake in the oven for 1.5 to 1.75 hours until the family knitting needle (aka cake tester) comes out clean



Leave to cool, and then gather your parents to serve them some sliced and buttered with a cup of tea



Dink and sink!



Food for Thought

Lizzy says: ""




Kate says: " Barmbrack has been on the to gasp list thanks to me for a very long time, but I'm not really sure why because I really dislike fruitcake, and this is basically a loaf fruitcake? Good thing we made it while we were visiting our parents who loved it. I think you can tell from the dink and sink that neither Lizzy or I were the biggest fans but that is more of a personal taste thing than a this recipe was not good thing. It is very dense and fruity - I would say at least 3/4 dried fruits... That's about the only opinion I have to give.... 3/10"



.../10 Gasps


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