Remember the girl who would show up for school on St. Patrick's Day with a Clancy Brothers' album, dance steps to demonstrate, and her father's shillelagh? Ummm...(cringe)...that was me. In my hand-loomed Irish sweater (the matching tam at home) and shamrock pin I "rocked" (or not) the fourth grade with Whiskey you're the Devil and seven-step jig.
You know I grew up eating soda bread.
This is the American-ized version of my Nana's bread (she turns 96 next month, god bless her!), and by American-ized I mean there are currants and caraway seeds and a tiny bit of sugar. It's at its best with butter, marmalade, and milky tea, but it's also good in an "Irish Benedict", with poached egg, irish bacon, hollandaise, and a pint of you-know-what.
Be a hero and provide the party with a loaf!
Irish Soda Bread
4 c AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tbl caraway seeds
1 c currants, soaked in hot water for a few minutes (or hot whiskey-watch for flames!), dried completely
1 1/2- 2 c buttermilk
375 degree oven
Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt, then add the sugar, caraway, and currants. Add the minimum amount of buttermilk and, with your hands, lightly mix until it almost comes together, adding more liquid as needed.
Turn onto a floured surface and gently knead a few times until it's a cohesive, yet sticky mass. Remember- the more you knead the tougher the loaf. Use the lightest touch possible.
Divide the dough in half and form two rounds, patted into a 6" dome. Brush with the (cooled) melted butter and cut a cross into the bread- to let the devil out!
Bake for 35 minutes on a greased cast iron skillet or baking sheet, or until it's nicely browned and hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Oh, whisky you're the devil
You're leading me astray
Over hills and mountains
And to A-mer-i-kay
You're sweetness from the Bleachner
You're spunkier than tea
Oh, whisky you're my darling, drunk or sober