Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. -John Muir

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Irish Soda Bread (Spotted Dick)

Those of you who do not know me well, or at all, may not know that I love St. Patrick's Day more than Christmas, New Years and Halloween  all put together.  I can't exactly tell you why.  My mom used to make us green clover shaped pancakes and boiled cabbage and potatoes for us  and corn beef hash for my father.  Although I am not quite willing to boil cabbage and potatoes, every year I always end up making at least 2 batches of this traditional Americanized version of Irish Soda Bread.

What you will need:
3 cup All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup raisins
 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp butter (2 tbsp melted, 2 for greasing the pan)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a cast iron dutch oven (or other deep baking dish) generously with butter.  Add dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk them until combined.  Add raisins to this mix and stir gently.  In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, melted and cooled butter, vanilla and eggs.  Stir to combine and then slowly add the wet mixture to the dry while stirring.  Try no to over mix.  When the dough is ready, pour into prepared dish and bake for 1 hr or until a knife comes out clean from the center.

I usually try to carve an 'x' on the top of the bread so the fairies can get out, but as far as baking purposes go, this bread does not require that like the traditional bread did.

It is best served warm or toasted with butter, however if you find yourself with a craving for french toast... this is (besides carrot cake french toast) the best french toast you can find.

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