Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bara Brith & November's Apron winner

My mother made the best fruitcake!  Now, before you say, "ugh," homemade fruitcake is nothing like the loaf you see wrapped in the grocery stores this time of year.  Her's were loaded with fruit and nuts with the perfect ratio of batter to hold everything together.  After the cakes were baked and cooled, she wrapped them in brandy-soaked cheesecloth and sealed them in tin cans weeks before Christmas. In thinking about it, as I write this post, it probably was the Brandy that made the difference:-)

The fruited cake I made this morning is called Bara Brith, which is Welsh for "Speckled Bread" and I thought it would be a good recipe to ease you into the idea of really good fruit cake! Loaded with raisins (sultanas) and currants, this tea bread makes the perfect mid-morning snack with a cup a tea.  This bread can be made with yeast or as I did today, with self-rising flour.  It is claimed to be invented by a Welsh chef who added dried fruit and spices to dough creating a newer version of a favorite tea bread.  There are similar loaves in Ireland--Barm Brack and in Scotland--Selkirk Bannock.  I have made Black Bun, which is similar and Scottish for Christmas several times for my hubby during the holidays.  I first saw this tea bread on the 4th season of The British Baking Contest (on PBS) and knew one day I'd have to bake it.

Bara Brith

1 1/3 cups (300g) strong tea
1 1/2 cups (6oz) raisins/sultanas
1 1/4 cups (6oz) currants
1 cup + 1T firmly packed light brown sugar (8oz of muscovado sugar)

Measure the fruit and sugar in a bowl and pour the tea over it.  Allow to set, covered, overnight on the counter.

Preheat oven to 300F-degrees (150C-degrees/Fan or 130C-degrees/gas).  Grease a 2 lb. loaf pan (5" x 10" x 3 1/2" high) and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2 1/2 cups (10oz) King Arthur Self-rising flour
1 large egg

Stir the flour and egg into the fruit mixture until fully incorporated.

Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 80 - 90 minutes.  Testing with a wooden skewer in the center should come out cleanly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before lifting it out of the pan onto a parchment-lined rack.  Serve slathered with butter, of course. I love sharing recipes that come from other cultures; it's a way to learn so much about the people.  I'm proud to be a mixture and think the recipes my ancestors shared has made me understand traditions that were dear to them.  Enjoy!

November's apron winner is Mary Bolton!  Please email me your address so I can send this lovely apron out to you ASAP!  

I hope to have December's apron up shortly, however since my hubby had hip replacement surgery my days are 24/7 with chores and helping him through rehab.  It's all worth it, but I'm going to need a much needed vacation when he's back on his feet!  Happy Holidays to All!


  1. Love bara brith! Yours looks so very festive and gorgeous!

    1. It was delicious and my kitchen smelled so good baking it! I would definitely make this over and over again.

  2. Bara Brith is always on the table here! It's such a delicious treat with butter, and I don't like fruit cake but love this. I ring in the changes with different tea and even made one once soaking the fruit in Guinness!
    Best wishes for a speedy and full recuperation for your husband.

    1. I used Earl Grey, but I like your idea of Guinness; it probably would have a really full flavor to it!

  3. Your Bara Brith would be a lovely this time of year. I must add this to my baking list for this month.
    I do hope your husband is getting along well. Take care of yourself as you take care of him. ♥

    1. He is quite spoiled and in very good hands--I was a nurse for 17 years!

  4. Yum! I'd love to try this! I kind of like fruitcake, although a little goes a long way!
    Love your gorgeous card with such pretty details! Whoever receives it is very fortunate!
    Best wishes for your hubby's speedy recovery!

  5. I made one very much like this last spring and it made the most delicious toast I have ever had. Thank you for the reminder. Are your fruitcakes soaking now?

  6. I love fruit cake and the ones in the stores are terrible. Thanks so much for the recipe.
    Hope that hubby is doing well - take care and don't work to hard. Have a great week.


  7. I certainly wish I was at your house Susan! I would LOVE this bread! I'll bet your home smells heavenly!

    1. I wish you were nearby too! Hope Mae is doing well on her medicine.

  8. A good fruit cake is so yummy! This one looks so good.