Traditionally baked for Samhain, some of the ‘lucky’ ingredients used and their ‘significance’ vary from house to house and region to region, we mainly had fake gold wedding bands in our Barm Brack.
1 lb flour
6 oz sugar
1 lb mixed dried fruit
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp all spice/mixed spice
Pot of hot tea
The ‘lucky’ ingredients
– a ‘gold’ ring, to foretell marriage within a year
– a small coin, to forecast wealth
– a small piece of cloth to forecast poverty
– a little piece matchstick to forecast the husband will beat his wife
– a thimble to forecast spinsterhood
– a button to forecast bachelorhood
Wrap each ‘lucky’ item carefully in greaseproof and/or tissue paper. The trick to making a Barm Brack is the soaking of fruit overnight in the tea. While this makes the dried fruit softer and more appealing in general, one must be careful when mixing the dough not to over-knead or the rehydrated fruit will break too much. Add the sugar and egg to the fruit mix the next day. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix gently. Stir in the wrapped ‘lucky’ items and try to distribute them evenly. Use a 7″ round baking tin at 350°F for 80 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
The Brack can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an air-tight container.