Barm Brack or speckled bread, called in Irish Bairìn breac, is a yeasted bread with sultanas and raisins; usually it is served sliced and buttered with a cup of tea in the afternoon.
Barm brack belongs to the Irish Halloween tradition. Halloween has always been associated with fortune-telling and divination, so various objects are hidden and baked in the mixture of the loaf: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin, a ring or a thimble; all of them have a meaning, for example the ring a wedding, the stick an unhappy marriage, the coin good fortune or be rich and the piece of cloth bad luck.
Although Barm Brack is usually made with a yeasted dough, there are other delicious versions such as the following, where the fruit is soaked in tea.
Soft brown sugar : 160 gr
Sultanas or currants : 120 gr
Raisins : 120 gr
Chopped mixed peel : 60 gr
Freshly made tea (no milk) : 450 mls
Egg, beaten : 1
Self-raising flour : 300 gr
Put the sugar, the fruit and peel in a bowl, pour over the tea, cover and leave to stand overnight.
Set oven to 180°C
Stir the beaten egg into the fruit mixture and add the flour and the spice. Mix gently.
Put the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or more until well risen covering the top with kitchen foil.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out.
Traditionally the barm brack has a round shape, so it can be baked in round cake tin.