Black bun with whisky

Tom Lewis makes black bun - an incredibly dense and spicy fruit cake served on Hogmanay and after midnight to the "first footers" of the New Year. The secret to a really moist filling is soaking the fruit overnight. This is a recipe for real whisky lovers!
Black bun with whisky
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes one large 28cm bun
  • Cook Time: 3.5 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus overnight soaking
  • Effort: easy


  • 675 g currants, washed and dried
  • 400 g raisins, washed and dried
  • 150 ml Glengoyne 21 year old malt whiskey
  • 500 g shortcrust pastry
  • 225 g almonds
  • 125 g muscovado sugar
  • 170 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp each ground allspice, ginger and cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150 ml milk
  • extra milk, or 1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt, to glaze


1. Start the day before. Soak the currants and raisins overnight in the whisky mixed with 150ml warm water, turning once or twice. Keep covered.

2. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 2.

3. Line a well-buttered, 28cm deep round (or 25cm square) cake tin with 2/3 of the pastry. Chill until firm, and wrap and reserve the remaining pastry for the lid.

4. Add the whole almonds, and sugar to the marinated fruit and stir well.

5. Sift the flour with the spices, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda and stir into the fruit mixture with the milk.

6. Spoon this into the chilled pastry case and lightly press down so that it is flat. Roll out the remaining pastry to generously cover the top of the bun.

7. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg and top with the pastry lid. Trim away the excess and crimp the edges to seal (at this stage you can decorate the top with any leftover pastry trimmings). Brush the top with milk or beaten egg. Take a skewer and stab the bun several times all over the top, through to the base to make steam holes to prevent the pastry cracking.

8. Bake 3½ hours, covering with foil if getting a bit too brown. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove from the tin, cool completely then wrap in clingfilm and store in a cool place.

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