irish brack

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruitcake which is also knows as Irish Tea Cake depending on the time of year that you’re eating it! This recipe makes a really beautiful moist fruit loaf which is packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which sits overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. You can drop the whiskey if you wish but I think it adds another flavour kick.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup raisins 
  • 1 cup strong black tea (cold) , (can substitute water for the tea)
  • 2 teaspoons (7g) active dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 1/2 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • Homemade British mixed spice 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg , slightly beaten
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel (optional)

ALSO READ: Lemon-Batter Fish

Instructions

  • Place the currants and raisins in a bowl and pour over the cold tea (or water).  Let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Drain and reserve the liquid for later.
  • Stir the yeast and teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm milk.  Let it sit for 10 minutes until nice and frothy.
  • In a stand mixer place the flour, sugar, spices and salt and stir to combine.  Make a well and add the melted butter, egg, lemon zest and yeast mixture.  Use the dough hook to knead until just combined.  The dough will be very thick (do not add more liquid at this point because the wet currants/raisins will be added).  Add drained currants and raisins and candied lemon peel.  Knead until combined, adding some of the reserved currant/raisin juice until a soft dough forms.  Scrape down the dough from the sides of the bowl.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 90-120 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough.  If making two smaller loaves, divide the dough in half and shape into rounds.  If making one large loaf (as pictured), place the dough in a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for another hour or longer until nearly doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake the barmbrack on the middle rack for 50-60 minutes .
  • Remove from oven and while hot brush the loaf with the reserved currant/raisins juice for more flavor, moistness and a nice sheen and let cool.
  • Slice and serve.  Barmbrack is especially good toasted and spread with butter.

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