This Irish barmbrack recipe from chef Donal Skehan is a traditional way to celebrate the Halloween season

"This recipe makes a really beautiful moist loaf which is packed with flavor from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which sits overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. You can drop the whiskey if you wish but I think it adds another flavor kick…" - Donal.

Makes one 2lb loaf

Barmbrack recipe - Ingredients:

  • 10oz plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 13oz packet of fruit mix
  • 1 cup cold tea
  • 1/5 cup of whiskey
  • 4 1/2oz light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • A ring to place inside

Barmbrack recipe - Method:

Place the fruit mix in a bowl and pour over the whiskey and cold tea. Allow to soak up the liquid overnight.

Preheat the oven to 340˚F/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl.

Make a well and break in the egg, using a wooden spoon, mix the egg with the dry ingredients. Add a little bit of the liquid the fruit mix is sitting in and mix it through. You may not need all the liquid, you are looking for a wet dough.

Then stir through the fruit mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Add in the ring and stir through.

Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin and place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the loaf tin and placing on wire rack.

Cover in cling wrap and tin foil and allow to sit for 1-2 days before cutting into it.

Serve in slices spread with a little butter and a good cuppa!

Donal Skehan is a home cook, food writer and television presenter who has written five cookbooks. He presents the TV show Kitchen Hero on RTÉ One in Ireland, Grandma's Boy on FOX International and is a judge on BBC's Junior MasterChef. Check out Donal's Facebook, Twitter, and website and make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel for more culinary tips, recipes, and food travels.

What's your favorite Halloween recipe? Let us know in the comments!

*Originally published in October 2019. Updated in October 2023.