Last week I either called or used Open Table to make a reservation to eat at Lydia Shire’s Scampo in Boston. Whatever, I received an unsolicited email:”Scampo News & Message from Lydia!”, becoming an inadvertent subscriber. Ordinarily I’d scroll down to opt out, but Lydia’s note was a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, and St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, and I’ve neglected Gluten Free Gus and our readers. So instead of shuffling old recipes in honor of the Emerald Isle I adapted her’s. (Lydia had me at “rum plumped raisins.”)
Easy, satisfying, tasty, this recipe could become a standard in your kitchen.
Lydia’s Irish Soda Bread
2 cups (12 oz.) gluten free flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joes)
1 oz. almond flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more to butter the loaf pan)
1/2 cup each Golden and Thompson raisins (plumped in a pan with 1/4 cup rum over a low heat, then cooled)
7/8 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream (though light cream or Half & Half will do)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a buttered loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper.
2. In a small heavy saucepan combine the raisins and rum and cook gently until the raisins have plumped and the rum absorbed.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, xantham gum, and caraway seeds. Stir to blend.
3. Add the butter (by grating it in if frozen or in small pieces if cold) and blend it in with a pastry cutter or paddle if using an electric mixer.
4. Add the cooled raisins (that have been softened with rum.) Gently toss to coat with the flour mixture.
5. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, baking soda, and egg. Whisk to blend.
6. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir gently to blend. Do not over mix. The dough will be fairly stiff. Turn the dough into the prepared pan. Cut an X or two across the top and brush with a mixture of the egg yolk plus cream.
7. Bake at 350F for 45 – 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before turning out of the pan. Serve warm from the oven or lightly toasted. Store well wrapped and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to two weeks.
Note: This can be made dairy free by substituting almond milk plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for the buttermilk and using vegetable oil instead of butter. For the heavy cream in the egg wash substitute non dairy creamer or culinary coconut milk. One can also eliminate the “wash” as it doesn’t affect the flavor of the bread.