Thursday, July 8, 2010

Irish Soda Bread for Scone Lovers

My family has been making this version of Irish Soda Bread for as long as anyone can remember. My grandfather was born and raised in Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland and I think this recipe came by way of one of his sisters. It wasn't until I went to Ireland (twice - whee!) that I found out that Irish Soda Bread is really more like a wheat bread and our family's version is what they consider more of a giant scone. But who doesn't like scones?

This recipe is fast and easy to make and it is perfect for breakfast or with coffee as a snack. I often make it to accompany a soup dinner in the winter or to take to a "Food Day" at work. The ingredients are pretty basic, so it is really easy to whip up when you have company coming and it makes the house smell heavenly.'

Quickie - My Dad worked for a company for 27 years and they decided to create an employee cookbook and asked everyone to submit recipes. My mother proudly wrote up the family recipe for Irish Soda bread and even included a comment about how it was "a treasured recipe" from her Irish ancestors. When the cookbook came out, my mother flipped through to find her recipe, and discovered that they had left out all of the wet ingredients, basically leaving flour, raisins and a few other dry ingredients to bake for an hour at 350. If the cookbook went into a second printing, I am sure her recipe would have been edited to say "A treasured recipe from my Irish ancestors, who were a wee bit fond of the whiskey".

Irish Soda Bread Our Way - Printable Recipe
1 Egg
1 pint sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, chopped apricots, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an iron frying pan. If you dont have one use an 8 inch cake plan or pie plate.

Beat egg in mixing bowl, add sour cream and mix well. To the wet mixture, add the dry ingredients and mix until slightly combined. Don't overmix, just until it starts to clump together. Then add a cup of raisins and mix in. Raisins are the traditional addition, but sometimes I use dried cranberries or dried cherries. I might even throw in a bit of almond extract (with the cherries) or a teaspoon of grated orange peel (with the cranberries) if I am feeling fruity. Whatever blows your skirt up, as they probably never say in Ireland. The dough will be sticky. Really sticky but not to worry since you just dump it in the pan. No need to knead.

Spread dough in lightly greased iron frying pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

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