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How To Make a Soul Cake for Samhain

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Use your favorite simply pastry recipe to make soul cakes for Samhain.

Image by Philip Wilkins/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead. In many European countries, the idea of "Souling" became an acceptable alternative for Christians. The cakes took many different names and shapes -- in some areas, they were simple shortbread, and in others they were baked as fruit-filled tarts. Still other regions made them of rice flour. Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available. You can make your own with one of these four simple recipes for your Samhain celebrations.

  1. Pie Crust Soul Cakes

    You'll need:

    • A refrigerated roll-out pie crust
    • 2 Tbs. melted butter
    • 1 C mixed dried fruit
    • 2 Tbs honey

    Roll out the pie crust and cut it into circles. Use the circles to line a tin of muffin cups. Mix the butter, fruit and honey together. Scoop the fruit mixture into the pastry shells, and then bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before eating.

  2. Quickie Shortbread Soul Cakes

    You'll need:

    • 1 stick of butter, softened
    • 4 Tbs sugar
    • 1 1/2 C flour

    Cream together the butter and sugar. Use a flour sifter to add the flour to the bowl, and mix until it's smooth. Divide the dough into two parts, and shape each half into a flat circle about half an inch thick. Put them on an ungreased baking sheet (baking stones are really nice for this) and poke lines with the tines of a fork, making eight separate wedges in each cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.

  3. Buttery Soul Cakes

    You'll need:

    • Two sticks butter, softened
    • 3 1/2 C flour, sifted
    • 1 C sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron
    • 1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp malt vinegar
    • Powdered sugar

    Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinammon and allspice. Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4" thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.

  4. Irish Cakes

    You'll need:

    • 4 C flour
    • 1 pkt active dry yeast
    • 1 C milk
    • 2 Tbs butter
    • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon & salt
    • 3/4 C sugar
    • 1/2 C lemon zest
    • 1 1/4 C golden raisins

    Cream yeast with 1 tsp sugar & 1 tsp milk, let it get frothy. Blend flour, spices, & salt together, then cut in butter. Add the rest of the sugar to the flour mix and blend. Add milk & beaten egg onto the yeast mixture; combine with flour mixture. Beat until stiff.

    Fold in raisins and zest, cover with a damp cloth and let rise. Divide in two, place each half in greased 7" round pan. Cover, let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees.

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