5 Traditional Samhain Recipes

The Celtic New Year/Halloween/Harvest Festival—what better time of the year to get together with friends and feast on these five traditional Samhain recipes? Ah Samhain!


Designated-Driver Mead

Ancient Pagans would not have tolerated a non-alcoholic mead but then ancient Pagans didn't have to drive home after a party either. Here is a traditional Samhain recipe with a new twist.

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  1. Bring water, honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon to a boil.
  2. Stir until honey is dissolved.
  3. Squeeze in lemon slices.
  4. Cool.
  5. Strain and refrigerate.


Sour Cream and Garlic Roast Potatoes

As soon as potatoes were found in the New World, starving Europeans of every religion embraced them. A good potato harvest was cause for celebration and a staple for many Samhain recipes.

  • 4 teaspoons ground garlic
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 4 lb Potatoes cut in half
  • 1 tablespoons sour cream per half
  • salt to taste
  1. Par boil the potatoes, then remove from heat when they are beginning to soften.
  2. Drain. Place on baking tray and rub the coating all over them; roast in a hot oven until nice and crispy (30 minutes-plus).
  3. Spoon sour cream on top of each half before serving.


Fortune-Telling Bread

Samhain begins the new year and everyone wonders what it holds in store. Many Traditional Samhain recipes call for baking charms into the bread to tell what the future holds—marriage, wealth, or dental work to repair a tooth broken from biting into a charm.

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh yeast
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice,
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups mixed, dried fruit
  • Metallic charms
  1. Warm up the milk to lukewarm in the microwave or in a saucepan and stir in the sugar and yeast. 
  2. Add the egg and beat it in. 
  3. Sift the flour and spice and blend in the butter.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture.
  5. Beat until a good dough forms.
  6. Add fruit, salt and charms, and knead well.
  7. Put in a warm bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Knead and place in a lightly-greased seven-inch cake pan for another 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes.


Soul Cakes

Both Pagan and Christian children went house to house caroling for soul cakes on Samhain night. For Pagan children, it was a ritual to honor the dead.

  • 5 oz butter
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 3 tbsp currants
  • 2 tsp milk
  1. Sift flour and spices into a bowl.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Beat egg yolks and add to the creamed mixture, beating well.
  4. Add floura nd spice mix and stir in the currants.
  5. Add milk to form a soft dough.
  6. Place dough on a lightly-floured surfac eand shape into flat cakes about two-or-three-inches in diameter.
  7. Transfer to a well-buttered baking tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake until lightly golden.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.


Chocolate Apples

Okay. There's nothing traditional about chocolate but who says you can't start a new tradition. Samhaim celebrates the dead, the new year and the harvest. The apples in this Samhain recipe remind us that it is harvest time.

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cup pecans, finely ground
  • 8 apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat until it is molten
  2. Dip the apples into the chocolate and shake off excess. Then dip the apples into the nuts to coat the bottom.
  3. Set them three-inches apart on a lightly buttered tray and refrigerate for 45 minutes
  4. In a small pot, stir together the sugar, cream, vanilla, corn syrup, and butter.
  5. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Cook for ten minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat and pour hot mixture over the apples.
  8. Cool, then slice the apples into eighths and remove the cores.
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