Hogmanay is a big tradition in Scotland, full of fireworks and parties and the preparations for a new year. One of these preparations is ‘First Footing’, where people go to be their friends’ and neighbours’ first visitors of the year, and bring gifts of prosperity: a silver coin; a drink; salt; coal; and the black bun, a kind of fruit cake wrapped in pastry.
This is (apparently) Tara de Barbarac’s family recipe. We’re almost certain this has gone through a bit of mangling though – if her cooking is anything to go by. Consume at your own risk!
Tara’s Hogmanay Black Bun
[usual editor’s note: the Owl Post takes no responsibility for any indigestion, poisoning, or other illness suffered from eating the results of this recipe; we did warn you]
FOR THE PASTRY
8½oz plain flour
4oz lard, cubed
4oz butter, cubed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
FOR THE FILLING
17oz plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground allspice
1 tsp mixed spice
4 tbsp ground black pepper
½oz dark muscovado sugar
6½oz mixed peel, chopped
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp whisky or firewhiskey [editor’s note: the Owl Post recommends a responsible adult be charged with obtaining this ingredient]
1 free-range egg
3 tsp buttermilk
you will also need a 2lb loaf tin, a pastry brush, and a rolling pin
this will make one large black bun, serves about 10-12
- For the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the lard and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, baking powder and four tablespoons of cold water and mix to a soft dough. Turn out and knead into a ball. Wrap in cling film or similar and leave to chill while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 270°C/525°F/Gas Mark 10.
- For the filling, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mobiliarbus circumage works great for this.
- Line the loaf tin with baking parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll out two thirds of the pastry to a rectangle large enough to line the tin. Drape into the tin and press up against the sides. Spoon the filling into the tin, pressing down to compress.
- Roll out three quarters of the remaining pastry to a rectangle large enough to cover the tin. Dampen the edges of the pastry with water and press the pastry lid on top to seal. Trim the edges and crimp using the tines of a fork. Roll out the remaining pastry, along with any trimmings, and use to make a bow to decorate the top, then attach with a little water.
- Glaze with beaten egg and bake for an hour and a half. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out.