Barmbrack (or báirín breac in Irish, from báirín, a loaf, and breac, speckled, due to the raisins in it) is a traditional treat in Ireland, falling somewhere between bread and cake. What makes it special is the ring and coin that are usually baked into the bread, turning it into a bit of a fortune-telling game: whoever gets the coin will be rich and whoever gets the ring will be married within the year.
100 g raisins
100 g sultanas
100 g currants
50 g glacé cherries, quartered, or chopped dates
50 g candied peel or the zest of 1 lemon
250 ml hot, strong black tea
50 ml whiskey or Cointreau
1 egg, lightly beaten
225 g self-raising flour
200 g light brown sugar
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
Put the raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries and candied peel in a large bowl, one that’s big enough to accommodate all the ingredients later on. Pour over the tea and whiskey or Cointreau and allow the fruit to soak for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 450 g (1 lb) loaf tin with parchment paper or a loaf tin liner.
Add in the beaten egg, flour, sugar and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture. Stir well until everything is just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing. This keeps very well in an airtight tin.
Serve with lashings of butter and a pot of good tea!!!!!!!!!