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Home • Recipe • Scottish • Black Bun
Published by Amy
Traditional Black Bun, perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Years Day.As seen at Foodies Festival 2017.
For those of you outwith Scotland, Hogmanay is our version of New Years. The origins of the term ‘Hogmanay’ is at best uncertain but it isn’t without it’s traditions. Torch-light processions, singing Auld Lang Syne, street parties and of course first-footing; the custom of being the first visitor in a home after the bells at midnight. And for good luck your first-footer should be a tall, dark, handsome stranger, carrying some sort of gift. So if you’re planning on doing some first-footing yourself then this Black Bun is just the gift you need.
There’s two kinds of people when it comes to celebrating Hogmanay. The first are the ones who are happy to stand in the freezing rain, in the middle of the street, listening to a band they’d never usually listen to and hugging strangers at the stroke of midnight when hundreds of fireworks light up the sky.
The second (i.e. me…) are those who much prefer to be in the warmth of their own homes, with Jackie Bird on the telly after repeats of Still Game and Only An Excuse, dozing off on the couch and wishing each other a Happy New Year before crawling into bed and feeling like it’s all a bit of an anti-climax.
Whichever you are and whether you’ll be first-footing before you go to bed or after you’ve woken in the morning, Black Bun is the ultimate gift to take to your host, or indeed to offer to your guests when they first foot you. And if nothing else, it’s sure to fill you up after a Loony Dook!
Shortcrust PastryThe outer layer of your black bun is a basic shortcrust pastry. This is easy to make with some plain flour, butter/margarine, a pinch of salt and some cold water. If you’d rather though, you can of course use a ready-roll pastry.
Dried FruitYou need a decent amount of dried fruit in your black bun mix. The combination and their quantities are up to you. I’d always recommend using a majority of currants if you can, as these fill the spaces in the mixture well. But you can also use sultanas and raisins; even dates, cranberries…whatever you have available. This is great recipe to use up the leftover dried fruit from your Christmas Cake.
Ginger, Cinnamon & Mixed SpiceA classic combo of flavour and spice. No fruit cake would be complete without some ground ginger, ground cinnamon and mixed spice.
Ground Black PepperA little bit different than your average fruit cake and an ingredient that might seem a bit odd. But being an authentic recipe for Black Bun, adding black pepper is a must.
Soft Light Brown SugarA little sweetness is needed to balance out the flavours in a black bun and my go-to is a light brown sugar. You can of course use a darker brown sugar if you prefer a richer flavour, or a caster sugar if you have that to hand.
Mixed PeelA great addition to any fruitcake, if you ask me! It still amazes me that people aren’t a fan of mixed peel. However it is a great addition to your black bun, especially when you opt for orange juice in your mix, over whisky.
Flaked AlmondsTo add a little texture to your black bun, flaked almonds are perfect. They lend a little bit of crunch, but not too much. You could experiment with using alternative nuts but I would recommend chopping them.
Whisky or Orange JuiceTalking tradition, you would of course use some whisky in your black bun. This is a Scottish recipe after all! But much like our Brandy Snaps recipe, if you’re not an alcohol drinker, don’t go rushing out to buy an expensive bottle of something you will never finish! Instead, use some orange juice. I promise you that it will still give you a wonderful Black Bun – even ask Papa!
Looks good. Thanks
Never heard of this before…how have I never heard of this before!!! We’re gluten free and dairy free in this house but I love a challenge and would love a go at this, wish me luck haha!
I have not made this recipe but made other rich fruit cakes using BUCKWHEAT flour with great success. Also successful in making the pastry for a black bun! Have a go with buckwheat in you’re baking. I have been on a gluten free diet now for over 40 years.
OMG!! For years we have struggled to get Black Bun south of the border … hooray for my brother getting a job that sometimes takes him to Edinburgh – we always ask him to get some if he can … but a recipe to make our own?! THANK YOU x
Does the one egg in the recipe go in the cake or is that just for the egg wash? And traditionally I have read it’s matured for a while would this keep well and mature? Thanks
There are two eggs in the recipe, one in the filling and one to glaze the pastry. Hope this helps!
Hi there, how many calories/carbs are in this recipe?
Put ingredients into carbs& Cals app and divide by number of slices. I would guess very high in both
It was my dad’s favourite cake at new year
Missed out on pepper that the Scots like to put in their black bun.
Hi John. Black pepper is included in the recipe, and mentioned in the Ingredients explanation.
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