Mrs. Neilan’s Raisin Bread
I never actually met Mrs. Neilan—as far as I know, she was a neighbour of my granny’s. However, this was one of the first things I baked by myself as a child, and it still always reminds me of my granny—the cinnamon-y aroma, the taste of the plump, juicy raisins and the moist consistency of this cake that just cries for a cup of tea to accompany it. For me, this is what baking is all about—memories.
~ Helen Dalton
N.B. : This recipe is as authentically Irish as they come. You will find measurements in mugs and teacups. And you will not find a temperature setting for your oven. We have added a few notes to help interpret Mrs. Neilan’s intentions. After all, baking should be an adventure, embarked upon with wild abandon!
- 1 mug raisins (1 cup)
- 2 mugs flour (2 cups)
- 1 teacup sugar (2/3 c.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (all spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- Boil the raisins in 1 1/2 cups of water until the liquid is reduced to 1 mug.
- Pour off the raisin water and let it cool.
- Put the raisins to dry on newspaper. (This can be done overnight).
- Roll the dried raisins in the flour and mix with the remaining dry ingredients.
- Beat an egg, mix it with the raisin water, and add to dry ingredients.
- Mix well.
- Pour into a well-greased and lined tin.
- Bake in a moderately hot preheated oven (~325 F) for about one hour.
Do you have any St. Patrick’s Day traditions?