No I’m not Irish but…

17 Mar

I think St. Patrick’s Day should be a national holiday. The food alone makes it worth celebrating! I have prepared corned beef (and all the trimmings) plus Irish Soda Bread for 40+ years every March 17. And today is no exception. Today’s recipe I found in Sunset Favorite Recipes I (1986). It’s a little different than the recipe I traditionally make with caraway seeds. But I love this rendition – it produced two great-looking loaves – probably because the cake pans help maintain the round shape. Legend has it that a cross on top of the bread was done for superstitious reasons; families believed it would ward off evil and protect the household. This is a delicious bread to serve for any occasion!

And yes, tomorrow I will share my corned beef recipe (it’s still cooking).

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups regular all-purpose flour (or use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups regular flour)

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

¼ cup sugar (optional – but I recommend it)

⅛ teaspoon cardamom or coriander (optional)

¼ cup (⅛ pound) butter or margarine

2 cups currants or seedless raisins (optional)

1 egg

1¾ cups buttermilk (or regular milk plus 5 teaspoons vinegar)

Combine in large bowl the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, sugar and spice, if used. Add butter or margarine and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. Mix in currants if used. Beat egg slightly and mix with buttermilk; add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes.

Divide the dough in half, and shape each into a round loaf; place each loaf in an 8-inch cake or pie pan. Press until dough fills pans. With a sharp knife, cut crosses on tops of loaves, about ½ inch deep in the middle. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold,

Makes two loaves.

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