Saturday, October 31, 2020

Traditonal Irish Barmbrack for Halloween - Traditioneller Irischer Teekuchen zu Halloween

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruitcake which is also known as 'Irish Tea Cake', a popular way to celebrate the Halloween season. This truly Irish treat that is served on Halloween night is sometimes also refered to as Halloween Barmbrack.

This recipe makes a really moist, fruit loaf which is packed with flavor from mixed spice and dried fruit. The fruit soaks overnight in strong black tea resulting in plump fruit. 

Traditionally, a ring or other small gadget is baked into the cake – a ring meant you would be married within the year, a pea however the opposite, a stick foretold dispute, the silver coin good fortune and a piece of cloth meant bad luck. So, make sure that everyone in the family gets a slice of Irish Halloween Barmbrack to see what the future holds - weddings, spinsterhood, wealth or poverty!? 



As its Irish language name 'bairín breac' (speckled bread) suggests, barmbrack is similar to the Welsh 'bara brith', a plain, yet richly fruited bread that is also well suited to a generous topping of fresh butter, preferably lightly salted, and also makes for an excellent accompaniment to a pot of tea or a strong cup of coffee.



Before the invention of chemical raising agents, barmbracks would have been leavened with yeast. And the word 'barm' itself denotes the foam that collects at the top of fermenting liquids such as beer, wine or liquor, which would have been scooped off for use in baking. However, most bakers today use baking powder instead.




Barmbrack is also known as 'tea brack', and not just because it goes so well with tea but also because the non-yeasted recipes all call for soaking the dried fruit in black tea overnight. The choice of tea also varies in some recipes - I like to use a good strong black Irish tea that is widely available around here but you can go with any good black tea or maybe even an Earl Grey with its fruity notes or a Lapsang Souchong if you prefer a slightly smokey note. Some recipes also call for a bit of whiskey, which is not traditional, but which does add another layer of flavor – not advisable though if you are planning to serve generous slices to the kids.



Irish Barmbrack for Halloween


Ingredients

(makes one 900g loaf)

  • 125g sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 125g raisins
  • 125g currants (you can substitute with other kinds of dried fruits, including dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries, or dried orange (Orangeat) or lemon peel (Zitronat) or even some glacé cherries but do not exceed the total weight of 375g)
  • 250ml strong hot black tea, preferably Irish (you can substiture 50ml whiskey and 200ml tea), you can also use a fruity Earl Grey tea or a smokey Lapsang Suchong
  • 225g plain (AP) flour (you can substitute white spelt flour)
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 tsps of baking powder
  • 125g light brown sugar such as light muscovado sugar
  • 8g pure vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mixed Spice (available at British shops or online - a lovely mixture of mostly coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice) - you can substitute with a Gingerbread spice mix (Lebkuchengewürz)
  • 1 egg (M), free-range or organic

 

Equipment

  • 900g(2 lb) baking pan (loaf pan)
  • baking parchment


Preparation

  1. Place the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the hot tea (and whiskey, if using). Stir, cover and allow to soak up the liquid overnight.
  2. The following day, strain the mixture and keep the liquid.
  3. Grease and line your 900g (2lb) loaf pan (11cm x 21.5cm/4.3 in x 8.5in) with baking parchment.
  4. Preheat your oven to 180˚C (356°F).
  5. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, vanilla sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl. Make a well and break in the egg, using a wooden spoon, mix the egg with the dry ingredients. Add a little bit of the soaking liquid from the dried fruit mix and mix it through, then add more or all - you may not need all the liquid, you are looking for a wet dough. Then stir through the fruit mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the wet dough into the lined baking pan, place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for about 60 to 70 minutes - if the cake browns too quickly, make sure to loosely cover it after 30 minutes baking time. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly (about 15 minutes) before removing the barmbrack from the baking pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely – you should wait for the barmbrack to cool completely before cutting into it. 
  7. Serve thick slices slathered with good butter, marmelade and strong tea or coffee. The barmbrack keeps very well for a few days and is also utterly delicious when toasted.


NOTE: if you are prefer a more glistening exterior to your barmbrack, brush the still warm cake with a sugar syrup. For the syrup, simmer 1 tbsp sugar and 50ml water until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency, brush the still warm cake, let the cake cool and then cut into generous slices.




Irischer Teekuchen zu Halloween 


Zutaten 

(für eine mittelgroße Kastenform - 900g -  21.5cm x 11cm)

  • 125g Sultaninen 
  • 125g Rosinen
  • 125g Korinthen (man kann auch einen Teil mit anderen Trockenfrüchten ersetzen, getrocknete Kirschen, Cranberries oder Blaubeeren oder man fügt dem Teig etwas Orangeat und/oder Zitronat hinzu - solange man das Gesamgewicht von 375g nicht überschreitet)
  • 250ml starker schwarzer Tee, möglichst irischer Tee (man kann auch für ein besonderes Aroma 200ml Tee und 50ml Whiskey dazu geben) oder für eine blumige/fruchtige Note kann man auch Earl Grey nehmen oder für ein leichte Rauchnote auch einen Lapsang Suchong 
  • 225g Weizenmehl (Type 450) - man kann auch Dinkelmehl Type 630 nehmen
  • eine Prise feines Salz
  • 2 TL Backpulver (Weisteinbackpulver)
  • 125g feiner Rohrzucker wie zum Beispiel Muscovado Zucker 
  • 8g Bourbon Vanillezucker
  • 1 TL Mixed Spice (eine Gewürzmischung, die häufig in britischem Gebäck oder Kuchen verwendet wird und die Koriander, Zimt, Piment, Muskatnuss, Ingwer und Nelken enthält- bekommt man in englischen Geschäften oder online) alternativ kann man auch Lebkuchengewürz verwenden
  • 1 Ei (M), Freiland oder Bio


Zubereitung

  1. Die Trockenfrüchte im warmen schwarzen Tee (und event. Whiskey) über Nacht einweichen, am nächsten Tag gut abtropfen lassen, dabei die Füssigkeit auffangen.
  2. Eine mittelgroße Kastenform (21.5cm x 11cm) einfetten und dann mit Backpapier auslegen.
  3. Den Backofen auf 180 °C Ober-/Unterhitze vorheizen. 
  4. Das Mehl mit dem Salz, Backpulver, Rohrzucker, Vanillezucker und Mixed Spice oder Lebkuchengewürz vermischen.
  5. Dann das Ei zugeben und so viel von der aufgefangenen Flüssigkeit zu dem Teig geben, bis man einen zähflüssigen Teig erhält.
  6. Dann die abgetropften Trockenfrüchte unterheben und den Teig in die Form streichen. 
  7. Im vorgeheizten Backofen 1 Stunde bis 1 Stunde 10 Minuten backen – nach 30 Minuten Backzeit abdecken, damit die Oberfläche nicht zu dunkel wird.
  8. Nach dem Backen den Teekuchen zirka 15 Minuten in der Form ruhen lassen und anschließend auf ein Kuchengitter stürzen und ganz auskühlen lassen bevor man ihn anschneidet. Am besten mit guter gesalzener Butter, Orangenmarmelade und viel heißem Tee oder Kaffee servieren. Der Barmbrack hält sich mehrere Tage frisch (gut einwickeln) und läßt sich ganz wunderbar toasten.


Für zusätzlichen Glanz, sollte man den noch warmen Kuchen mit etwas Zuchkersirup bestreichen: dafür 1 EL Zucker mit 50ml Wasser aufkochen, zu Sirup einkochen und damit den Kuchen einpinseln. Dann den Kuchen erkalten lassen und in Scheiben schneiden.





„(…)Pastie suppers down at Davey's chipper

Gravy rings, barmbracks

Wagon wheels, snowballs.“

Van Morrison: "A Sense of Wonder" (1985)



„The fire was nice and bright and on one of the side-tables were four very big barmbracks. These barmbracks seemed uncut; but if you went closer you would see that they had been cut into long thick even slices and were ready to be handed round at tea.“

James Joyce: "Dubliners" - "Clay"




PPlease note that this blog post is part of my series for a local/regional radio station, where, throughout the years, I present festive bakes that are closely tied to various holidays and seasons. If you are interested, have a LOOK & LISTEN (in German) HERE.


The various recipes of my series can be found here:

  • in January, for Three Kings Day (Dreikönigstag) two kinds of Galette des Rois (Dreikönigskuchen) (HERE)
  • for Lent (Fastenzeit) Lenten Soup with Lenten Beugel (Fastenbeugel) (HERE)
  • for Good Friday (Karfreitag) the delicious Hot Cross Buns (HERE)
  • for Pentecost /Whitsun (Pfingsten) the fun Allgäu Bread Birds (Allgäuer Brotvögel) (HERE)
  • for the beginning of the summer vacation, the lovely Sacristains (Almond & Sugar Puff Pastry Sticks) (HERE)
  • for St Christopher's Day (St Christophorus), the energy-packed Müsli Power Bars (Müsli Energieriegel) (HERE)
  • for Mary's Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt) my Tear & Share Herb Bread (Kräuterbrot) (HERE)
  • for Mary’s Birthday (Mariä Geburt) some very pretty Mary’s Sweet Rolls (Süße Marienküchlein) (HERE)
  • for Thanksgiving (Erntedankfest) a delicious and seasonal Thanksgiving Apple Tart with Frangipane (Erntedank Apfeltarte mit Mandelcreme) (HERE)
  • for Halloween a Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake (Kürbis-Gewürzkuchen)
  • for St Martin's Day (Martinsfest) the cheerful Sweet Dough Men (Weckmänner) (HERE)
  • for St Andrew's Day (Andreastag) a classic Petticoat Tails Shortbread (HERE)
  • for Christmas Day (Weihnachten) these Traditional German Gingerbread (Elisenlebkuchen) (HERE
  • for New Year's Eve New Year's Eve Pretzel (Neujahrsbretzel)
  • for Candelmas Day (Mariä Lichtmess) some delightful Navettes de Saint Victor (HERE)
  • for Carnival Season (Karneval) these lovely Carnival Doughnuts (Karnevals-Krapfen) (HERE
  • for St Patrick's Day a traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread (Irisches Sodabrot)(HERE
  • for St Joseph's Day a long-forgotten but thankfully re-discovered Sweet Cotton Bread (Baumwollbrot)(HERE
  • for Palm Sunday (Palmsonntag) these very pretty Palm Pretzels (Palmbrezel) (HERE)
  • for Easter Sunday (Ostersonntag) an Easter Brunch at Home with Tarte Flambée (Flammkuchen) (HERE)
  • for the Month of May (Marienmonat Mai) these elegant Visitandines de Nancy (HERE
  • for Pentecost/Whitsun (Pfingsten) festive Beignets (Heiliggeistkrapfen) (HERE
  • for St John's Day (Johannistag) these sweet St John Cakelettes (Johannisküchlein) (HERE)
  • for St Margaret’s Feast Day (Margaretentag)the delightful teacake called St Margaret’s Cake (Margaretenkuchen) (HERE)
  • for St Hildegard's feast day these wonderful spice cookies called Cookies of Joy (Nervenkekse)(HERE
  • for Michaelmas (Michaelistag) buttery Sablés du Mont-Saint-Michel (Buttergebäck)(HERE)
  • for Halloween a moist and fruity traditional Irish tea cake called Barmbrack (Irischer Teekuchen) (HERE) - more delicious treats to come very soon.