I'm not Irish by a long shot, although my mom does have a pin with a Jewish star inside a four-leaf clover, but this recipe had three things going for it. One, it's made in skillet (which I always think of as "my birthday skillet from Kelly") -- the quickest way to my heart. Two, someone had given me a piece of Irish soda bread on St. Patrick's Day and it was delicious and I wanted some more. And three, it has buttermilk in it, and "buttermilk" is one of those words like "cream cheese," "curry" and "heaping tablespoon of cinnamon" that always makes me want to try a recipe.
You can never go wrong with Smitten Kitchen, especially when she is improving on some NY Times recipe. This stuff is ridiculously delicious, and I haven't even tried it with the cheddar and apples yet.
Skillet Irish Soda Bread Served With Cheddar and Apples, from the New York Times, 3/14/07
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Butter for greasing pan plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups raisins or currants
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Good aged Cheddar cheese, for serving
Tart apples, cut into slices, for serving.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet and line with parchment or waxed paper. (Deb note: Mine came out a bit taller, as my cast-iron is 8-inches and deep.) (Gwen note: Mine was in a 10-inch skillet and it still puffed up quite a bit.)
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the raisins or currants and caraway seeds.
3. Pour batter into skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving with cheddar and apples.
Yield: 1 10-inch loaf.