"Tea Brack" / Sweet Bread with Tea, Raisins and Whiskey (March 6, 2008)
Breac or breic (and there are numerous other spellings of the word across the Celtic languages) means "spotted" or "speckled", and is a good way to describe the various sweet or tea breads that now carry the word "brack" in their names, as they routinely contain raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, or other dried or preserved fruits.
This tea bread is not only intended for the tea trolley, but also actually has tea in it, along with the whiskey used to soak the dried fruit before the baking begins. Some versions of this bread even go so far as to add Guinness or similar porter-style beers: but those tend to make the tea flavor undetectable, and the scent of a good strong tea, along with the whiskey, is one of the charms of this particular bread.
Since this version of tea brack has no butter or margarine in it, it keeps very well, especially if you store it in a sealed cake tin or other similar airtight container. (Doubtless the whiskey also helps...) Some sources claim the brack will keep as long as a month in a sealed tin, but EuroCuisineLady has never had one last for more than a few days after baking, so there is no way to verify this.
Click on "read more" for the recipe.
- 500g / 1 lb raisins, halved
- 500g / 1 lb sultanas (or use golden raisins if you can't get sultanas)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup hot strong tea
- 2/3 cup Irish whiskey
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 1/2 cups plain flour
- 3 rounded teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspon ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons whiskey (to pour over brack after baking)
The day before: Place fruit, sugar, lemon rind and juice, tea and whiskey in a large bowl. Cover and allow to stand overnight.
Preheat oven to 150C / 300F. Brush a deep 23-cm round cake pan with melted butter. Line the base and sides with baking parchment. Grease the paper with more melted butter.
Pour the beaten eggs into the fruit mixture and mix through well. Sift together flour, baking powder and spices: spoon onto the fruit / egg mixture and stir together until dry ingredients are well moistened. Don't beat or otherwise overdo it.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the surface when finished. Bake at 150C / 300F for an hour or until cooked. Cool slightly in the pan before turning the brack out.
While still warm, pour the extra whiskey over the top. (You may also like to make several small knife-slits in the cake before this so that the whiskey sinks in more quickly.)
Serve in slices, well buttered. This also toasts beautifully, though the occasional slice will catch fire if you've overdone the whiskey. Oh well: what's life without a little excitement?