Monday, March 04, 2013

Celtic Currant Cake (Bairgin Brack or Barm/Barn Brack)

Previously, I tried making 'Celtic Soda Bread'.  It turned out okay and no one complained, there may have even been the odd compliment (gee, who would have thought that?!) as we had two guests - Brooke's lovely friends A and J who have lovely manners and are very kind!  So this time, I'm trying my hand at Celtic Currant Cake.  A little harder to find direct links, but it seems to be along these lines, as a recipe.  Again, credit linkbacks if you click on the title of the recipe.

Recipe #1
Recipe #2

Being very not Celtic myself (not that I know of, anyway), I had to rely on Mr Google for information.  If you reading are Celtic or of Celtic origin and know the below better than me please feel free to correct me.  Spellings I've come across are 'Bairgan Brack', 'Barm Brack' and 'Barn Brack'.

These are the two recipes I tried, 'Two recipes for Barnbrack' found at The Evening Herault.  First things first - you must remember to allow time to soak the fruit overnight.

Nature's Cuppa Organic and Fairtrade Tea
I also found this one but just tried the ones from Evening Herault - two was enough to try & to eat!

So, Recipe #1 from The Evening Herault
This one was very simple to put together.  Note that you need to soak the fruit overnight and allow for cooking time.

ready to go in the oven

a peek into the oven while cooking
It's quite fruit full - which is great and it has a hint of 'warmth' behind the taste in the top of the back of your mouth - maybe from the tea or the spices but I think the tea.  I drizzled a tiny amount of golden syrup over the top, rather than as a glaze.

fresh out of the oven
glazed with golden syrup

This recipe turns out a more 'cake like' result - closest comparison would be fruit cake, in Australia, but of course without the peel (no complaints there).

I took mine out of the oven about ten minutes before the hour (setting was 170C fan forced) as the skewer came out clean at this stage and the top was golden.  As with any recipe, and ovens, things vary a little bit so always keep an eye on what your oven is doing.

I am thankful for my oven (that I only dreamed of for ten years), rather than the old one we had that required me to turn the tin at 15min intervals to avoid burning, and that used to take 45mins to cook something meant to take 15! lol

Recipe #2 from The Evening Herault

As the recipe indicates, it's a bit more involved - soaking of the fruit, frothing of the yeast time, and two lots of rising before finally making it to the oven.  I kind of like that though - it's much more of a 'process' and sometimes less easy makes things a bit more rewarding, or I think so anyway.

frothing the yeast
all mixed ready for first rising

first rising - sneaking a peak.  Then knead and then a second rising.
in the oven


To note:  I found 125g of flour was definitely not enough.  I ended up with soup rather than dough.  I increased the flour to be a total of approx 375g.  Also '1 packed dried bakers yeast' via Google is apparently 2 and a quarter teaspoons.  Re the flour I'm not sure if I did something wrong at my end but have left a quick comment on the author's blog, just in case.  Either way, if you find the mix is too sticky and not enough of a dough, I'd suggest add a little more flour a bit at a time until you reach the consistency described in the method (which is why it's great to have a method description to follow, so thankyou!).

The recipe calls for 45mins in 200C oven, near the top and notes that if the top starts to burn, to cover with foil.  I put mine in 200C in the middle shelf, and the top was starting to want to burn by about 15mins mark.  I turned the oven down a smidge to 190 (thinking that might allow for fan forced as I wasn't sure if the recipe used fan forced or standard) and covered with foil.  Checking with a skewer, the inside was still not ready.  At 30mins, the skewer came out clean and the top was almost too well done.  So it came out and sat in the tin for 15mins as per recipe.

This recipe turns out a more 'bread' like result (think 'fruit toast' bread loaf), with much less fruit in comparison to the first recipe.  This doesn't change the fact that it tastes great though!  I also didn't glaze the second one, in case we wanted to toast it in the toaster and because I didn't want to/didn't think it needed it.  I like it as a 'bread' version.

If you make these I'd really like to hear how you go and what results you had.
general information and reading also from
'The Celtic Baker'

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