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Catholic Recipe: Irish Tea Barmbrack

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup natural glace cherries, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup hot tea
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey or brandy
  • 1 organic egg, whisked
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 oz homemade Candied Peel
  • 1 lb loaf pan -- 5 x 8 inches or 3 small loaf pans 6 x 3 inches
  • Details

  • Yield: 12 slices
  • Prep Time: overnight and 2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: All
  • Origin: Ireland

Also Called: Barinbrac; Barm Brack

Darina Allen is often thought of as the Julia Child of Ireland. She runs the Ballymaloe Cookery School which aims to learn to use whole fresh foods and time-honored approaches. This recipe is slightly adapted, adding whiskey to soak the dried fruits.

This is a more modern version of barmbrack, now commonly called a tea brack because the dried fruit is soaked in tea overnight to plump it up (rather than boiled as in other recipes). This little gem of a recipe is much easier to make at home than the Halloween Barmbrack. Even though it is a very rich bread, in Ireland it is traditionally served sliced and buttered.

DIRECTIONS

Put the dried fruit and cherries into a bowl. Cover with the hot tea and whiskey and leave to plump up overnight.

Next day, line the loaf pan with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the whisked egg, sugar, flour, and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture. Stir well. Put the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Leave to the cool on a wire rack. Keeps well in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen, Kyle Books, 2009
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