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irishJust a quick post to wish you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve come to understand from a few of my Irish friends that the Irish soda bread we eat here in America is not in the slightest bit authentic. Some say the batter would most definitely not contain butter, some say no way to the white flour and sugar, and all say definitely not to the caraway seeds. But this is the Irish soda bread I know well from a childhood spent eating it dipped in milky sugary tea every March, so it’s the one I’ll be providing you with a recipe for today. This soda bread is really more of a skillet-scone (is that a thing?). The sweetness of the sugar and currants is grounded by the caraway seeds, it is light and airy, a little bit tart from the buttermilk —it’s just really a delight.

Not-So-Irish Skillet Soda Bread
Makes 1 10-inch skillet’s-worth

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (half a standard stick) plus more for greasing skillet
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 3 tablespoons currants (or any dried fruit)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or any oven safe skillet) and line it with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together your buttermilk, beaten eggs, and 2 Tablespoons of your melted butter (reserve the rest). Mix together wet and dry until smooth, being very careful not to mix too much (this bread will get tough quickly the more you mess with it). Fold in currants and caraway seeds, pour batter into skillet, brush with reserved butter and bake until golden and firm to the touch (40-50 minutes).

Since you’re here…
These are a few of my favorite books by Irish authors:
The Revolutions Trilogy by John Banville (includes Doctor Copernicus, Kepler, and The Newton Letter)
The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits By Emma Donoghue
Outside History By Eavan Boland (a collection of poems)
Christine Falls
and The Silver Swan By Benjamin Black (John Banville’s mystery/thriller pen name)
The Gathering
By Anne Enright
Good Behaviour
By Molly Keane
Murphy
By Samuel Beckett
The Sea By John Banville

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone, now go drink some beers!

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