Fruity Irish soda bread

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp allspice
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 30g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp cold vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 240ml buttermilk
  • 35g dried cranberries
  • 35g dried figs
  • 35g toasted walnuts
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, allspice and salt and mix well.

2) Cut the butter and vegetable fat into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, work the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3) Add the egg, buttermilk, dried fruit and walnuts and mix into the flour mixture until they are incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough forms a smooth ball. Shape the dough into a round loaf.

4) Place the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Score the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

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