The Irish Tea Brack

This is an Irish Tea Brack. And it’s delicious.

The first time I ever had this sweet delight was on rainy afternoon in Belfast, which is slightly typical but incredibly delightful if you’re from Texas. While roaming around the city, my lovely friend, Emma, took me into the best shop of my life. Avoca. As I walked  floated around the shop in awe, taking in the smells of freshly baked soda bread and sweet potato soup, I stumbled upon a charming little lady, giving out samples of this mahogany fruit-filled bread known as a “brack.”

So today, I thought to myself, what a better way to celebrate February 29th than by taking that quirky Irish tradition (made famous by Amy Adams in “Leap Year”) and celebrating the marriage of fruit and bread into one, lovely Irish Brack.

While some traditional recipes call for combinations of prunes, dates, raisins, sultanas, etc, I maintain the mentality that recipes are more like… intelligent guidelines. Which means you can use whatever fruit you like/whatever fruit you have in your pantry.

The best part of this bread is getting to bake with tea. While it doesn’t taste like a cup of earl grey, allowing the fruit to soak in its glory overnight really makes the bread incredibly moist, tender, and perfect for a cloudy Leap Day. So take your extra 24 hours and get baking!

Irish Tea Brack
Yield: 1 loaf          Prep Time: 15 minutes         Bake Time: 50-60 minutes

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups brewed black tea, cold
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups dried fruit (raisins, prunes, dates, cranberries- you name it)
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten

Directions:

1. Brew tea and allow it to chill. Place the tea, sugar, and dried fruit in a bowl and mix well. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
2. The next day…..preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Combine with egg and fruit mixture.
4. Pour mixture into the loaf pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out nice and clean.
5. Allow bread to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and serve.

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