A Rich Scotch Bun (Black Bun)
Source of Recipe
Said to have been introduced to Scotland from Italy in the 16th Century. It was originally served on Twelfth Night (Jan 6), but is now baked for New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay). This was first published in 1806.
List of Ingredients
8 cups flour (2 liters)
Two ¼ oz (two 7 ½ g) packages active dry yeast, or two 3/5 oz (18 g) cakes of yeast
2 cups tepid water (360 ml)
24 Tbsp butter (3/4 lb-1/3 kg) cut into pieces
2 tsp salt (10ml)
1 tsp whole allspice (5ml)
1 tsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger root (5 ml)
3 or 4 whole cloves
¾ cup chopped candied orange peel (175 ml)
¾ cup chopped candied lemon peel (175 ml)
¾ cup chopped blanched almonds (175 ml)
4 cups raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 min and drained (1 liter)
4 cups dried currants, soaked in hot water for 15 min and drained (1 liter)
½ tsp grated nutmeg (2 ml)
Note: For extra flavor, the orange peel, lemon peel, raisins and currents may be soaked in rum, brandy or fruit liqueur for one to two hours beforehand, rather than the hot water.
Mix the yeast with the water. Mix it with the flour and salt, using your hands to work it in, until all of the ingredients are moist. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, mix in the butter and knead for about 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put it into a warmed bowl, cover it and leave it in a warm place until doubled in bulk – about two hours. To make the flavoring, pound the allspice, ginger and cloves together in a mortar. Mix the spices with the chopped peels and add the almonds, raisins, currants and nutmeg.
Punch down the dough and knead it briefly until the air has been expelled. Slice off one third of the dough and reserve it. Flatten the larger piece of dough into a round about 1 inch ( 2.5 cm) thick. Sprinkle the flavoring mixture onto the dough. Then fold the dough over the flavoring, and knead well until the flavoring is evenly distributed.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the remaining dough into a sheet ¼ in thick (6 mm) and large enough to encase the fruit dough in the center. Pull the plain dough around the fruit dough, folding any excess plain dough into pleats on top of the bun. Press the pleats together firmly and turn the bun over. Gently flatten the bun until it is about 3 inches thick (8cm). With a long needle, pierce the bun through to the bottom all over, to allow steam to escape during cooking. Lay the bun on a buttered and floured baking sheet. To ensure that the burn keeps its shape, encircle it with the hoop of a spring-form cake pan or with a ring of stiff cardboard covered with foil. The hoop or ring should be larger than the bun to allow for expansion during cooking.
Bake the burn in a preheated 375 F (190 C) oven for one hour, then remove the hoop or ring to let the sides of the bun brown. Bake for 30 minutes until the bun is golden brown.
To make one 10 inch (25 cm) bun.