Figgy brack is an easy-to-make rustic classic. This particular recipe is a variation on the traditional Irish brack, a rich moist heavily fruited cross between a cake and a type of bread.
There are several definitions of how the name barm brack came about.
One of these is that it evolved from the old English word ‘beorma’ meaning yeasty (some bracks are yeast leavened) and the old Irish word ‘breac’ meaning speckled, which is like the fruit studded dough of the barm brack.
You can see how these two words could easily have become the name we now know as barm brack.
Makes 24 loaves
Chopped glacé cherries - 820g
Californian raisins - 1.6kg
Chopped dried figs - 820g
Currants - 820g
Strong tea - 3kg
Rum Belmonte - 36g
Vanilla Mauritius - 36g
Bun Spice Flavour - 1 tspn
Whole egg - 600g
Plain flour - 3.77kg
Bicarbonate of soda - 75g
Soft brown sugar - 1.1kg
Total weight - 12.683kg
Make the tea and while it is still hot pour it over the prepared fruit and the combined flavours in a bowl. Cover and leave this fruit mixture overnight at room temperature.
The next day butter and flour 24 tins before mixing the dough. Combine the eggs and tea-swollen fruit mixture in the bowl.
Sieve the flour and the bicarbonate of soda twice. Then, add the flour, along with the sugar, to the bowl and thoroughly combine all the ingredients. The mixture must not be too firm so a little milk may be added, if needed.
I use quite small tins, 18cm x 8cm, so the mixture above will give you 24 bracks of just over 500g each before baking. Bake at 160ºC for around 90 minutes, but they may need more or less time depending on the oven used.
Inserting a skewer and checking if it comes out clean can test the degree to which they are baked. Once baked rest in the tins for 20-30 minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack.
• When it comes to fruit you could use dried dates, dried cherries, prunes or dried apricots. Try experimenting to create seasonal favourites.
• For a crunchy top sprinkle with demerara sugar before baking.
• You could finish it like a stollen brushed with melted butter and dredged in icing sugar.
• Store in an airtight container to keep for three to four days.