Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Spotted Dog

"No matter where the name comes from, this is an old-fashioned recipe that stands the test of time."

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

For our final recipe from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen I couldn't resist sharing this riff on an Irish Soda bread known as Spotted Dog. Allen explains that in a time when Ireland was more agrarian this was a snack typically made by farmer's wives and transported to the fields wrapped in a tea towel and served whiskey-filled with hot sweetened tea.

As far as I can tell the whimsical name for this bread either refers to the spotting of raisins on the bread's surface or it's a derivative of spotted dick, a steamed pudding dotted with currants.

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No matter where the name comes from, this is an old-fashioned recipe that stands the test of time. What sets this bread apart from a standard soda bread? An egg and a little sugar, which makes for a darker, crisper crust.

Allen suggest serving this bread with some good cheddar and that's exactly what I did. The slight sweetness was the ideal counterpoint to a sharp and tangy cheese. But butter and jam would work just as well, and I also suspect that this recipe would make some wonderful mini spotted pups for breakfast.

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