Kage Baker on Barm Brack

Barm Brack is a soul cake — traditional Scots recipe calls for a bean or silver coin or some other token to be baked into it and the person getting the winning slice gets fame or good luck or sacrificed or whatever, deciding on how much of The Wicker Man you take seriously. I leave the tokens out of mine, personally. Life is enough of a lottery as it is.

You add one tablespoon each of yeast and sugar to half cup lukewarm milk and let it become bubbly (that’s the Barm). Then you sift into a bowl two cups of flour, three tablespoons sugar, half teaspoon each allspice and nutmeg. Cut in three tablespoons of butter. Then you make a well in the buttery flour mixture and pour in a beaten egg and the Barm. Stir together with a wooden spoon until you have a stiff elastic dough.

Then you add a half-cup of currants or raisins or dried cherries or what have you that have sat overnight in wine, whiskey, rum or what have you. ‘Brack’ means ‘Spotted’ in Scots. Knead in the fruit and set the dough in a warm place to rise about an hour. Transfer the dough to a loaf pan and bake at three hundred and fifty until done– half hour — forty-five minutes maybe? Serve while watching The Uninvited, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Nightmare Before Christmas or some other Hallowe’en standard.

Cat Eldridge

I'm the publisher of Green Man Review. I do the Birthdays and Media Anniversary write-ups for Mike Glyer’s file770.com, the foremost SFF fandom site. My current audiobooks are Simon R. Green’s Jekyll & Hyde Inc., Robert J. Sawyer’s Red Planet Blues and Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time. I just read Kathryn Kristine Rusch’s Ten Little Fen which was most superb. My music listening as always leans heavily towards trad Celtic and Nordic music. I’m watching my way though all twenty one seasons of the British forensic series Silent Witness. Yes, twenty one seasons. And I keep adding plants to my flat here, up to nearly thirty now including a miniature banana tree which is growing nice and my first pineapple bromeliad.

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