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Barmbrack for Halloween

Halloween is almost here and it wouldn't be the same without Barmbrack. Traditionally a ring is hidden in the brack and whoever gets it will be married soon. A stick and a rag were also put in. The stick meant your husband would beat you and the rag for poverty. Unlucky the woman who got all three!


400 g strong white flour
50 g sugar
250 g mixed dried fruit
1 sachet fast action yeast
50 g soft butter

160 ml milk
80 ml boiling water
1 tsp salt

1 tbs sugar
1 tbs water

Grease a 20cm round cake tin or 2 small (1lb) loaf tins.
Sift the flour into a bowl and sprinkle in the sugar, dried fruit, the sachet of fast action yeast and the butter cut up into small pieces.
Mix the contents of the bowl round gently and make a well in the centre.
Mix the water and milk together and stir in the salt.
Pour the milk and water mix into the bowl with flour mix in it.
With a wooden spoon stir it all well together to make a soft dough.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it by hand on a floured surface until it is smooth and springy.
Put 1 spoonful of oil into the bowl and then put the dough back in and smear with oil.
Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and gently shape it into a ball and put into a greased cake tin.
Or divide in 2 and put into 2 small greased loaf tins.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for 45 minutes.
When the dough has been rising for about 35 minutes set the oven to GM 6/400˚F/200˚C
When the oven has reached its temperature and the dough has doubled in size.
Bake in the middle of hot oven.
Bake the big round brack for 40 minutes until golden.
The 2 small loaf tins will take 20-30 minutes.
Check if the top is darkening to quickly turn down the oven to GM4/350˚F/180C after 20 minutes
The brack should sound hollow when removed from the tin and tapped underneath with a knuckle.
While the brack is baking warm together the water and sugar on a small pan to make a syrup.
Take out of the tin and put on a wire rack.
Brush the top of the brack with the sugar syrup and leave to cool.
When cool slice and spread with butter.
Perfect with smokey Lapsang tea.

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