Thursday, October 29, 2015
Barmbreak ( Bairin breac) is one of Ireland's most popular baked goods traditionally served for Halloween ( and other times!) The name comes from the Gaelic word breac which means speckled, referring to the spots made by the fruit in the loaf. It is a type of fruit bread, soft and slightly cake-like. It is different than the traditional fruit cake served at Yule.
1tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 Cup water
2 oz+1 tsp sugar for the yeast to activate ( an ounce is a approximately 2 Tablespoons American)
1 lb all purpose flour ( approximately 3 1/2 cups American measure)
dash of salt
2 oz butter
6 oz raisins
2 oz mixed candy peel
2 oz sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Place yeast in water with tsp of sugar to activate, stir and put aside. In a second large bowl, put the flour, add the butter and rub it into the flour to form sandy crumbs. Work quickly before the butter gets too warm and melts rather than crumbs. Add the peel and raisins and 2 ozs of the sugar to the flour mixture and stir.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture, then work the whole thing into a soft dough.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and pliable, then place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean towel and allow it to rest and rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about an hour).
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, divide it in half and and knead each half for a few minutes, then form each into a round and place on a greased baking sheet, cover and allow to rise another hour.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes until uniformly browned.
My Irish father used to make parkin around this time of year. Parkin is a moist, dark, sticky spice cake; it improves with age and keeps well. It's a real treat to serve with tea on a crispy Autumn night.
Since I detest copying recipes, here is a link for a delectable parkin similar to what my Daddy made:
So sit back and enjoy!