molasses soda bread with blue cheese layers
¹⁄³ cup (55g) currants
½ cup (125ml) marsala
2 cups (250g) rye flour
1¼ cups (185g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling 2 cups (500ml) buttermilk, plus extra to brush 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses+
3 x 150g soft blue cheese honey almonds, to serve++
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Lightly grease a 7cm x 32cm x 8cm (2-litre capacity) loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Set aside. Place the currants and marsala in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Place the flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger, allspice, pepper and poppy seeds in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, molasses and currant mixture and mix to combine. Spoon into the tin. Brush with extra buttermilk and sprinkle generously with extra poppy seeds. Cook for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out to cool completely.
Cut the bread horizontally into 4 layers. Spread the bottom 3 layers evenly with the cheese. Sandwich together and press gently. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Serve with honey almonds. SERVES 10–12.
+ Blackstrap molasses is available at health food stores.
++ Honey almonds are available from selected delicatessens and cheese shops. Alternatively, make your own by placing whole almonds in a glass jar and top with honey to cover. Note: This will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can serve it as part of a cheese plate or with cold meats.