Barm brack is an Irish sweet bread studded with dried fruits and candied peel. Though traditionally made with sultanas, I changed it up with dried figs and ginger, one of my favorite combos. It’s a Halloween tradition to eat it and play a fortune-telling game for the coming year based on little trinkets wrapped in muslin cloth baked into the bread.

A pea: no marriage for you this year
A stick: even worse, an unhappy marriage, or continual disputes
A cloth or rag: rotten luck, poor poor poor

….hmm so far not sure I want to play this game…but then!

A coin: good fortune, riches!
A ring: marriage! This year!

(Thanks again my favorite academic source Wikipedia)

I am not even going to bother linking to the recipe I worked from because the liquid to flour measurements were way off! (At least for me). I had to add almost double the flour the recipe called for before it would come together in a dough…however, through some unexplained wacky kitchen witchcraft the end result was madly marvelous!

So because of this, apologies for the flour measurements, but if you add a little at a time you can’t go wrong. This was fantastic, so I will definitely make this again and try to close the margin a little.

Figgy Ginger Barm Brack

  • 1 packet (.32 oz) rapid rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3-4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp (half stick) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 oz dried figs, chopped
  • 2 oz candied ginger, chopped

In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and 1 tbsp of the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes or so (after which time it should be foamy – if not, use new yeast).

Meanwhile, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, remaining 3 tbsp sugar and the salt, then stir in butter and eggs (does not need to be homogenous). Add fruit and the yeast mixture, stirring and adding more flour little by little, just enough until a dough forms (will be a little sticky).

Turn out onto a floured board (or your counter) and knead for 10 minutes, adding sprinkles of flour as needed as it gets too sticky to handle. Roll into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Put in a warm spot to rise for one hour.

After an hour, lightly oil 9×5 loaf pan. Knead the dough for a few minutes and spread the dough into the loaf pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes – near the end if it starts getting too brown on top you can cover with foil and finish baking.

Cool in the pan.

Have with tea, sliced, toasted, slathered with butter and sprinkled with sea salt.