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The black bun is a Scottish seasonal cake served up on New Year’s Eve – or Hogmanay, as Scottish tradition refers to it. Black buns are similar to Christmas pudding: a fruit cake filling wrapped in rich pastry which, like most Christmas cakes, is left awhile to enhance its flavour.
Although the pastry used to bind black bun was not originally edible (it was developed purely to protect the yummy goodness inside), this changed, and now the pastry is part of the overall decadence of this dessert. If you fancy something different to the usual Christmas cake, then try this at home.
20cm loaf tin
350g/12oz plain flour
25g/1oz caster sugar
6 tablespoons cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
225g plain flour
225g soft brown sugar
225g chopped almonds
175g chopped mixed peel
1 teaspoon each of ground ginger, allspice powder, grated nutmeg and cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons whisky
2 beaten eggs
Milk for binding
Egg yolk for glaze
1. Add the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt to a large mixing bowl. Rub with the butter and lard until the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the water and make a soft dough. Take dough mix, cover with cling film, and chill while preparing the next stage.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
3. Add all the ingredients for the filling into a bowl and add a splash of milk (just enough to moisten the mixture).
4. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Next, roll out three quarters of the dough, and line the edges of the loaf tin. Make sure there aren’t any creases and push the dough into the corners. Pour the filling into the dough and pack in tight. Use the remaining pastry to make a lid. Dab with milk or egg to seal, then make four holes with the skewer, making sure the holes reach to the bottom of the tin.
5. Cook in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours. You’ll know the cake is cooked when you can slide a skewer in and it comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least an hour – or store until Christmas/New Year’s Day.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.