Teabrack scaled

Tea Brack: Bake it Again

Popular tea brands on store shelves.

Recipes | By Margaret M. Johnson

With more people, including me, cooking and baking these days, there’s always one recipe that plays on repeat. Tea brack is one of them! My first taste of the fruity loaf was about 15 years ago at the Quay House, a lovely country house hotel in Clifden, Co. Galway. Upon arrival, hostess Julia Foyle offers her guests a cup of tea and a slice of this classic Irish loaf made with tea-soaked fruit. Similar in flavor and texture to Scottish, Welsh and English fruit breads, her recipe includes a healthy portion of nuts and a hint of spice. It keeps well, so you can count on a week’s worth of delicious-ness. The recipe has appeared in the last three of my cookbooks, including Teatime in Ireland; signed copies are available at irishcook.com.

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3 cups mixed dried fruit (such as sultanas, dates, apricots, cranberries), chopped

2 tablespoons candied orange peel

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or Mixed Spice (see Note)

1 1/4 cups brewed hot Irish tea

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 cups self-rising flour

Softened butter, for serving

1.In a large bowl, combine fruit, peel, nuts, ginger, spice and tea. Let soak for 3 hours, or until tea is absorbed.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 7-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.

3. With a wooden spoon, stir egg, sugar and flour into fruit mixture; mix until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared pans

4. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until top is golden and a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven; let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert breads onto rack, return to upright. Let cool completely before cutting into slices. Serve spread with butter, if desired.

Note: To make Mixed Spice, in a small bowl, combine, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground mace, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Stir to blend; store in a sealed jar.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order her cookbooks, visit irishcook.com