Many of you may be unfamiliar with tea brack, but it’s popular in Ireland. A sweet and yet savoury bread, it’s similar to fruit cake but a little lighter, and the dried fruits are soaked in tea so they become all plump and juicy.
It’s also rather easy to make — it’s just a case of weighing up the ingredients, stirring them together and baking. I love making this in the evening or on a Saturday morning when I have a bit of time to myself; the smells of baking wafting around the house always bring instant joy. Besides, knowing there’s something delicious to have with a cup of tea or coffee is always a good thing.
Though it’s lovely with just a little good butter spread on it, yesterday I made a batch of rhubarb jam, which will be heaven on top. To make your own, place 700g of chopped rhubarb, 500g jam sugar, the juice of one lemon and 30g crystallised ginger (or one tablespoon of grated fresh ginger) into a large pan, toss well and leave to marinate for a couple of hours.
Then place the pan over a medium heat and stir everything until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 20 minutes. After this, remove from the heat and let the jam cool completely before ladling it into sterilised jars. If you run out of brack, it’s beautiful on a slice of toast at breakfast.
Makes: 1 tea brack, serves 10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Serve with: a cup of tea or coffee.
350g mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins and currants)
250ml cold tea
125g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp allspice, or ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Place the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with the cold tea. Leave to soak for three to four hours.
3. Place the sugar and egg in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and spice, and mix everything together.
4. Pour the soaked fruits and any remaining tea into the bowl and mix together well. Transfer into a greased 2lb loaf tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for an hour.
5. Afterwards, allow the tea brack to cool on a wire rack. Once you’re ready, put the kettle on.
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