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Scottish Recipes: Black Bun
This is a traditional recipe for a treat which is often eaten at the end of the year at Hogmanay. But it needs to be made several weeks in advance so that it can mature. Indeed, it can be kept for up to six months if kept in an airtight container. Don't be put off by the formidable list of ingredients. It is relatively easy to make and every cook has his or her own variations on the ingredients.
12 oz plain flour (3 cups)
3 oz lard (6 tablespoons)
3 oz butter or margarine (6 tablespoons)
(Note that if you don't want to use lard, increase the butter/margarine by an equivalent amount)
Pinch of salt
Half teaspoon baking powder
1 lb seedless raisins (2¾ cups)
1 lb cleaned currants (2¾ cups
2 oz chopped, blanched almonds (Third of a cup)
2 oz chopped mixed peel (¼ cup)
6 oz plain flour (1½ cups)
3 oz soft brown sugar (Third of a cup)
One level teaspoon ground allspice
Half level teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking powder
Generous pinch of black pepper
One tablespoon brandy
One large, beaten egg
Milk to moisten
Preparation Method:Grease an 8-inch loaf tin. Rub the fats into the flour and salt and then mix in enough cold water to make a stiff dough (remember, it is going to line the tin). Roll out the pastry and cut into five pieces, using the bottom, top and four sides of the tin as a rough guide. Press the bottom and four side pieces into the tin, pressing the overlaps to seal the pastry shell.
Mix the raisins, currants, almonds, peel and sugar together. Sift in the flour, all the spices and baking powder and bind them together using the brandy and almost all the egg and add enough milk to moisten.
Pack the filling into the lined tin and add the pastry lid, pinching the edges and using milk or egg to seal really well. Lightly prick the surface with a fork and make four holes to the bottom of the tin with a skewer. Depress the centre slightly (it will rise as it cooks).
Brush the top with milk or the rest of the egg to create a glaze.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 for 2½ to 3 hours. Test with a skewer which should come out clean; if not, continue cooking. An uncooked cake sizzles if you listen closely!
Cool in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack. Cool thoroughly before storing until Hogmanay.
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