Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Treats

Halloween is more than pumpkin pie,ginger snaps and  caramel apples. I love to make soft molasses cookies during the Autumn and Winter months because they are warming to the palate and spirit. This is the time of the year when I make apple cakes with black walnuts and pear pies with crumb topping. There are a quite a few variations of apple pie, too (My favorite incorporates a few drops of red food dye and crushed cinnamon hard candies to make it into candy apple pie. Don't use too many, or you will need a hammer to break the surface to serve it. Not kidding). Don't get me wrong, I do love pumpkin pie. The one I make is primarily a pumpkin custard,with lots of eggs and cream, rather than the traditional one made with pumpkin puree and resembles sweet potato pie. Years ago I came across a recipes that hand a layer of mincemeat spread inside the casing with the pumpkin mixture baked on top. With a big dollop of heavy whipped cream, it is spicy, rich and practically a meal by itself (serve it with a cup of coffee, it's almost too heavy for even the blackest of teas). Cooked mixed fruits- plums, apricots,pears, peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries-whatever is available, is delicious in a pie or baked with a crumb topping and served alone or with vanilla ice cream. Don't forget the walnuts!

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for reading Broom With A View - Your comments are welcome and appreciated.