Friday, January 1, 2010
Tea Brack, also called Barm Brack, is a traditional Irish tea bread. "Breac" means "speckled" in Irish, and that describes this bread, which is speckled with dried fruits. It is traditionally eaten with butter and a nice hot cuppa tea...I like it slathered in orange marmalade.
The first time I had it, I was at my husband's cousin's house just outside of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Her name is Veronica, and she wrote the recipe down for me, but I've never used it until now. I've veganized it here, and used whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier. If you use white flour, it will turn out more tender and moist, and will raise better. Actually, in Veronica's version, she calls for self-raising flour...if you use this, you can omit the baking powder and salt listed in the recipe below. Also, note that with the egg replacer, it is a fat-free recipe.
For the fruit, I used a combination of raisins, unsulphered apricots, and bing cherries (which, when dried, taste like prunes not cherries in my opinion). The whiskey is optional, and it wasn't in Veronica's original recipe, but I was feeling cheeky. And, one last note: I've spiced this mildly to suit my honey-hubby's tastes (he doesn't like cinnamon or cloves or other things like that if they're pronounced) so feel free to add more spices and suit your fancy.
1 cup mixed dried fruit
1 cup hot black tea ( I made it strong, w/ 2 bags of Tetley's British Blend)
2 tbsp Irish whiskey (optional, but good)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour for a lighter texture)
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons all spice (or more and other spices to your liking)
Ener-G Egg replacer for 2 eggs
In a large mixing bowl, soak the dried fruit in the hot tea and whiskey for several hours, perhaps overnight. After the fruit has soaked for several hours and has become nice and plump, preheat the oven to 350ºF, grease a loaf pan, and line it with baking parchment.
Add the sugar to the bowl of soaked fruit and mix it up until dissolved, then mix in the prepared egg replacer. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and allspice together, and add the flour mixture to the fruit and sugar mixture.
Bake in the loaf tin for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm and and a knife inserted in comes out clean. Check on it periodically, and cover with parchment or aluminium foil if it's in danger of getting too brown.
For best results, let it cool a while before cutting and serving.
I'm starting the Eat to Live 6-week Plan from Dr. Joel Fuhrman tomorrow, which means that processed grains like flour are out, as are dried fruits. So, I ate my fill of brack today, and my honey-bun hubby will just have to finish the rest off himself.