Ina Garten Puts This Dried Fruit In Her Soda Bread

Irish soda bread has always been one of those recipes that sticks to its roots, and is simple in all of the best ways — it's a mere combination of low-cost, everyday ingredients, including baking soda, salt, milk (but make it soured), and soft wheat flour. As a matter of fact, MyRecipes reports that Irish soda bread was created to fulfill growing needs in Ireland, since the country was facing mounting hunger and financial struggles in the late 1830s.

Despite the small ingredient list, the bread packed a mighty amount of flavor, making it a hit worldwide each time St. Patrick's Day rolled around. Ironically enough, that same simple bread has now snowballed into some significantly less streamlined recipes — one of which is Food Network chef Ina Garten's own fruit-filled spin on the traditional treat. The Barefoot Contessa host shared her take on soda bread in an Instagram post, writing "I might not be Irish but I still love to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making Irish Soda Bread!"

While we're totally drooling over the fluffy, flour-topped loaf in the photo accompanying her post, a quick glance might have you scratching your head and wondering: exactly what fruit is making a cameo in Garten's version of this classic recipe?

Garten's Irish soda bread recipe takes a few liberties

Garten's recipe list is slightly longer than what you might find in the average soda bread recipe. She calls for buttermilk over standard soured milk, an extra-large egg, plenty of sugar, a bit of orange zest, and — plot twist — some currants (via Barefoot Contessa). If you've never had currants before, they're essentially small raisins with a tart and acidic yet sweet flavor. Garten recommends mixing a tablespoon of flour with one cup of the dried fruit before adding it into the wet dough. 

Some of Garten's Instagram followers were quick to remind her that her version of the recipe was far from tradition; one commenter even wrote, "I'm sure this is lovely but it's NOT Irish soda bread." But while this may not be the typical soda bread that sat atop every Irish table in the 1800s, the surprising addition is not completely new, either. The blogger behind Sally's Baking Addiction shares her own Irish currant bread, crediting her grandmother with the recipe that dates back to before she was even born. She writes that while the currants are optional, "Grandma would never let you skip them." And if we know anything in life, it's that you should always listen to grandmas — they know what's best, after all!

Ireland may not have invented soda bread with fruit, but we're going to trust Garten on this one this St. Patty's Day, too.