Skip the soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day and try your hand at this delightful Irish treat! If you aren’t a fan of fruitcake (which I totally understand) you could skip the candied fruit and just use the sultanas and raisins for a milder taste. If you don’t care for dried fruit (even soaked in Jameson’s), it’s back to soda bread for you!
Tea Brack, which uses baking powder to rise, is a simpler version of Barmbrack, a yeast-leavened loaf. Both are very popular in Ireland. Though little charms are often baked in, I hate the thought of putting inedible things in my bread, so I was a party pooper and didn’t toss in the coin, the ring, the little piece of material.
There are a lot of recipes out there for both breads, each claiming to be “traditional”. I gave up trying to sort through them and did my own thing—as usual. If you’d like to try the yeast version, check out my recipe for Irish Barmbrack
My recipe has Irish whiskey in it, and a crusty top made with Irish Cream and brown sugar. If you prefer to leave out the alcohol, just use tea instead. Note: I used Earl Grey, but any black tea would be fine.
|Tipsy Tea Brack (Irish Fruitcake)
- 1 cup brewed tea
- ⅓ cup whiskey
- 1½ cups mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, fruitcake mix)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- TOPPING - OPTIONAL:
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Irish Cream
- In a medium pan, warm tea until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat.
- Add fruit, lemon zest, and whiskey. Cover and let sit for 2-3 hours.
- Line the bottom of a generously greased loaf pan with parchment. Heat oven to 350 F.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices into a medium bowl.
- Stir the egg and vanilla into the fruit mixture and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Gently stir just until the flour is incorporated, and spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If you are not adding the topping, let the loaf cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely.
- TOPPING: If you are adding the topping, mix the brown sugar and Irish Cream together well, then brush over the top of the hot loaf. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Let the loaf sit in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes, until topping feels firm to the touch. Turn out onto the rack to cool.
May the Irish hills caress you
May her lakes and rivers bless you
May the luck of the Irish enfold you
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you