Barmbrack. Ever heard of it?
This unusually-named cake is a quintessential Halloween treat Irish families devour during the month of October when monsters, zombies and witches are roaming the streets. Everyone remembers the race to find the ring baked within the traditional Irish fruit loaf. This turns it into a fun game but of course we were unaware growing up that the person who found the ring was expected to be married within the year! Or maybe we didn’t care…
Philip Mahon, Head Chef at Citron restaurant on our mezzanine level, wants you to help keep this tradition alive by following his barmbrack recipe. This fruit loaf recipe is very simple and will show you how to make a beautiful moist treat you can share with family and friends.
Here’s what you need to do…
- 1lb of plain flour
- 1lb mixed dried fruit
- 6oz brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of pain d’epice spice
- A ring to place inside
- Drop of Irish brandy
Mix the egg and sugar and add to the dried fruit. If you like the taste of alcohol in your cakes, you can add a drop of brandy to the fruit mixture. Leave for 40 hours to ensure it softens. After this time has passed, check on your mixture and sift the flour, baking powder and spices in. Wrap your ring in baking paper and add this to the mix then spoon the wet dough into a lined loaf tin.
Preheat your oven to 190° Celsius or Gas Mark 4 then bake for 75 to 80 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. You can decorate your Irish fruit cake with some icing to add a sweet taste or simply serve it topped with Irish butter.
Chef’s Tip: Soak the dried fruit for your barmbrack overnight in some tea first. Philip recommends breakfast or camomile tea but you can try whichever one you prefer as there is such a variety available which can add a curious flavour to your fruit cake.