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.

About Kage Baker

Kage Baker (1952 – 2010) ran away to sea when she was five, getting a job as a steam whistle on a tramp steamer, and learned to read and write thanks to the tutelage of a kindly one-legged sea cook. He suggested she try her hand at writing science fiction, so she produced her first novel, In the Garden of Iden, at the age of eight.

Thirty-seven years later she managed to sell it to Harcourt Brace, who promptly regretted their impulse purchase but oh well. She produced multiple fine works of science fiction, fantasy and horror over the course of a life cut far too short.

She resided in Pismo Beach, California, with her parrot and her sister.