Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good Food: Irish Tea Bread


Okay, I’m a bit late for St. Patty’s day, but I wanted to get my St. Patty’s themed recipe out there, late or not.  While the Internet seems to be dripping with Guinness infused everything for St. Patty’s day, along with all manner of morsels tainted with green food coloring, I thought I might take this opportunity to present a slightly different Irish recipe – Irish Tea Bread.

First let me start by saying this was a bit of a departure from the norm for me.  While I do like my tea, I’ve not made much of an effort to do anything with it other than to drink it.  But then I spotted this recipe and decided it would be a nice way to test the murky brown waters, as it were.

The recipe itself is really quite simple.  Brew up a batch of strong tea, soak some golden raisins for a day or so, then mix up your bread.

What you’re left with is a dense, moist and somewhat sweet bread, similar in texture to a banana bread, but with a darker, almost pungent flavor of tea and raisins.  To be sure, this is a heavy bread.

 

Ultimately, I don’t know that I’d say this particular venture was my cup of tea.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, but perhaps not the end result I was hoping for.  Then again, I’m not exactly sure what I was hoping for.  Others who tried it gave it mixed reviews, some really like it, others were so so.  I don’t recall that anyone disliked it.

If tea and raisins are something you find yourself craving, by all means, give this a go.  Hey, at least you’ll get a bit of the Irish in ya, even if there’s no Guinness to be had.

IRISH TEA BREAD

Ingredients:

10floz (1/2 pt) strong tea (made with 3 tea bags)
1lb (500g) mixed dried fruit (see note)
6oz (170g) light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1oz (28g) butter, melted
1 ¼ cups (9oz) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Brew the tea.  Place the mixed fruit, tea and sugar in a bowl, cover after it’s cooled and leave to soak overnight (although 2 days is highly recommended).   Stir occasionally.  After the fruit has soaked, proceed with the recipe:

Pre-heat oven to 325°F
Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.
Stir the beaten egg and melted butter into the tea/fruit/sugar mix.
Sift in the flour and baking soda together and gently fold them in to the mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  
After baking, let stand in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool

Number of Servings: 16

Notes: 

You can use any type of dried fruit you like.  I used Golden Raisins for my version.  Use raisins, sultanas (a type of raisin), currants, dried apples, anything you like really.

Although I stick with a basic black tea, such as English (or Irish) Breakfast, you could try different teas for a different finished result.

Serve warm or cold, preferably with some sweet cream butter.


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