I have one teapot, it must be about 20 years old and it occasionally makes an appearance on my kitchen table. I have vague memories of buying it in Ennis Co.Clare when I lived there, it has a matching milk jug and sugar bowl and somehow they have all remained intact despite being moved around a lot! It spent a good part of its life in my mother's attic when I lived in Jersey and made a happy reappearance into my Kildare kitchen when we moved back to Ireland. It now lives with us in Ely and comes out on special occasions like when my Mum comes over to visit or when we have serious tea drinkers over. I don't drink tea.
The other time I use the blue teapot is to make this Irish tea brack. Making Irish tea brack is almost ritualistic for me, you must brew a strong pot of tea, you must wait for it to go stone cold and then pour it over the fruit, then leave the fruit to drink the tea and plump up nice and fat. That is the secret to a good tea brack. You don't need too much sugar, the fruit is sweet enough and we like to eat it warm, soon after it has been baked with a good helping of Irish butter. It does get better with age, but it never lasts long enough to age in our house, my daughter's taste buds are firmly rooted in her Irish genes, she can eat as much of this as she wants.
My grandmother makes 3 or 4 of these at a time, I've not mastered that skill yet, but I'm working on it. She freezes hers and I can vouch that they still taste great when thawed and are excellent sliced and toasted. I spoke to her yesterday and as usual we talk about cooking and baking, I told her I was making tea brack, we debated the addition of glace cherries, she likes them I don't, some say they are crucial to a traditional Irish tea brack, I disagree. I think, as with any food you should go with what you like, that's why I leave them out. I use a mixture of sultanas and mixed fruit, sultanas are juicier and I find they result in a more plump brack. You can enjoy this warm or cold, toasted or not, I tend to make it more in the run-up to St.Patrick's day, but it's not limited to feast days. It does taste better though when shared with friends, a cup of tea and a few good stories.
This is my final recipe to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, I hope you have enjoyed the recipes I have created to raise a little bit of awareness. I have always been a supporter of Fairtrade and believe it is a good thing to support people, not corporations. I hope you take a break today and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice or two of brack.
- 350 ml cold strong Fairtrade tea
- 200 g sultanas
- 150 g mixed fruit
- 230 g plain flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 level teaspoon baking powder
- 2 level tbs dark brown , soft, Fairtrade sugar
- 1 large egg
- Butter for greasing the tin
- Soak the fruit in the tea overnight or at least for a couple of hours.
- Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees C, I use a fan assisted electric oven, please adjust according to your own oven.
- Grease a 1 lb loaf tin liberally with butter.
- Add the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir together, make a well in the centre then break the egg into the well.
- Add the fruit, keeping the tea, and mix well using a wooden spoon. You should have a wet sticky dough, if it's too dry add some of the reserved tea.
- Spoon the dough into the prepared loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 50 - 60 minutes. The brack is done when it is a rich golden colour, you can test it by piercing it with a metal skewer, it should come out dry.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Wrap in tin foil and keep for 3 - 4 days.
- Nutritional Information - is approximate and is based on one slice of brack.
- Mixed Spice - mixed spice is a blend of spices. It usually consists of a mixture of ground allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ground cloves and ground ginger. You should be able to find it in your supermarket in the spice section. If not you can buy it online.
- Mixed Fruit - mixed fruit is a mixture of sultanas (golden raisins) raisins and dried orange and lemon peel. They usually come in a bag pre-mixed. You could use those ingredients separately or just use sultanas.
More Irish Recipes for St.Patrick's Day:
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious food.
* Fairtrade UK supplied the tea for this brack, this does not affect my opinions or may ability to eat brack.
Tried this recipe and the whole family loved it. Absolutely delicious
I'm keen to try this recipe but live in the United States where we don't have anything called "mixed fruit." Can you please tell me what a typical mixed fruit mix is made up of? Dates? Figs? Dried apples? Currants?
Thanks so much for responding to me when you can!
Hi Maia, mixed fruit is a mixture of approximately 30% raisins, 30% sultanas (golden raisins), 30% currants and 10% chopped candied peel. If you can't find candied peel you could leave it out, you'll still get a good result without it. I hope this helps x
A lovely taste of Ireland. Thank you for evoking my childhood holidays in Wexford x
Thanks so much, Gilly. I'm, so glad you enjoyed it x
I intended 5 stars. I made this today. I soaked the sultanas for 10 minutes and then added them with all the tea!! It was delicious.
Thanks so much Joan, I'm so glad you liked it 🙂
I just tried this lovely recipe with slight changes.
I used 1 cup of organic wholemeal flour and 1/2 cup of plain white flour, and a pinch of salt.
And no sugar, the fruit was sweet enough.
I must have soaked the fruit in tea too long, because when it came to mix the dry ingredients with the egg and the fruit, I had little tea to reserve. I did add about 2-3 tbsp to the mixture.
It turned out pretty good, for the first time baking a tea brack, thank you very much!
I have a question : is it possible to dissolve the baking powder in some of the reserved tea before adding it the the mixture?
It may be just me, but I can taste the baking powder in the final product, whether it's scones or teabrack, in this case.
Many thanks again!
Hi Alina, I haven't tried this recipe using the baking powder that way so I can't say if that will work or not. I did have a look online to find out more about this though. Some people do in fact taste baking powder more than others, some baking sites recommend adding an acid (something sour) to the baking mixture to neutralise the bitterness of the baking powder. You could add a squeeze of lemon juice and I don't think that would affect the taste of your scones or this tea brack too much. I hope this helps, let me know how you get on if you do give it a try. Mx
Tea brak is one of my favorite things! I am right there with you on the glace cherries, though. I’d rather dig my eyeballs out with a rusty shrimp fork than put one of those unnaturally sweet, oddly textured things in my mouth. But I have found a nice replacement - dried sour cherries. I soak about 50g overnight in a little brandy to soften them up, drain and weigh them, then add the remainder of the required weight of fruit in candied orange and lemon peel. It’s perfect with the dark, rich flavor of the brak.
Thanks Aidan, I'm definitely going to give those sour cherries a go. And I love the idea of soaking them in brandy too!
I found this when looking for a recipe for Irish tea brack (I lost The Pauper's Cookbook, which is where I first encountered it) and was amused that, not only will I be using the same tea, but I have the matching teapot to brew it in!
Oh wow, Estelle! That's some coincidence! I hope you enjoyed the tea break x
Tastes lovely , enjoyed making it from this lovely recipe
Hi Loyola, I'm so glad you enjoyed it x
This tea brack is simple to make & really delicious! I’m not a fan of fruit cakes but tried out the recipe for my husband who is fond of them. This is so much nicer than any fruit loaf that I have ever tried. Moist, dense & delicious with butter. It has the extra bonus of having very little sugar added so I tell myself that it is very good for me as I demolish slice after slice. We haven’t managed to keep one long enough to see how it tastes after two days...
Hi Mary, I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying the tea brack. It's a big favourite in my house, and it disappears very quickly here too! Xx
Fantastic stuff , we in Belgium like it. We even use it with cheese plates, it goes very well with strong cheeses!
Hey Johan, I'm so glad you like it! 🙂
Can I please ask you what are the spices. Thank you. Mel
Hi Mel, mixed spice is a blend of spices. It usually consists of a mixture of ground allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ground cloves and ground ginger. You should be able to find it in your supermarket in the spice section. If not you can buy it online. If you want to make your own this is a good recipe to get started with https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/181605/mixed-spice I hope this helps x
Oh dear, I reread the recipe and see my question is answered in the following step! Apologies!
Hi Leah, I've just seen your comment. No worries at all, I hope the brack turned out ok for you Xx
I bought the ingredients to make this today and currently have the fruit soaking. I’m just wondering what you mean by ‘keeping the tea’- do you mean to keep the tea with the fruit and add it all the bowl or to reserve it? I’m leaning more towards the latter but as it’s my first time making this recipe I said I’d check.
I'm interested in making this for St. Patrick's day. But I live in Canada and I'm not sure what "mixed fruit" or " mixed spice" consist of.
Is the fruit other types of dried fruit, like currants or apricots? Can you point me to a home made version of mixed spice? My mother was Irish and I have continued her St. Patty day celebrations with my own children and now grandchildren. Thanks
Hi Louise, mixed fruit is a mixture of sultanas (golden raisons) raisons and dried orange and lemon peel. They usually come in a bag pre mixed. You could use those ingredients seperately or just use sultanas. Mixed spice you can buy online through amazon but if you need it for Saturday then this recipe may help - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/181605/mixed-spice. I hope this helps. It's so lovely that you continue your St.Patrick's day traditions with your family, I hope you have a lovely Paddy's Day Xx
Thank you Michelle! I'll have to make both the spice and the mixed fruit myself. I cook a LOT, and live in a small town so I know I can't get them the same way. We do St. Patrick's day every year. I want my family to remember their heritage and besides, it's fun for the kids! I try new recipes every year and I thought this sounded lovely! I'll let you know how they like it!
You're very welcome Louise, I hope they like it, my daughter loves this. I'll look forward to hearing how you get on! Have a great time celebrating Xx
Just wanted to write and say, what a great recipe! I made it today for my Northern Irish fiancé, and he said it reminded him of home! Me, I just thought it was tasty 😉 Will definitely be keeping this recipe for future use, thanks!
Hi Kirsti, thank you so much! I'm so glad you both enjoyed it and I'm so happy it reminded your fiancé of home x
I made this today--what a lovely recipe! This is definitely a recipe that I will make again. (I didn't even add the 2TBS of sugar. It was delicious without it. You are right--the fruit makes it wonderfully sweet.)
Hi Heather, I'm so glad you liked it x I'm making it again this week so I'm going to try it without the sugar 🙂
For those of us who don’t often bake? What fruits exactly do we soak other than sultanas? Curious.
Hi Cami, the other fruits in this recipe are the mixed fruits. Mixed fruit is a ready use combination of raisins, sultanas, currants, and candied orange and lemon peel. You should find it in the baking section of your local supermarket. If you can't find it you can easily make your own mixture by using 30% raisins, 30% sultanas, 30% currants and 10% chopped candied peel. If you are in the US then sultanas are called golden raisins, if you can't find candied peel (mixed peel) in the supermarket you can get it online or in most good Italian deli's. I hope this helps Xx
Hana | Nirvana Cakery
What a lovely post Michelle! I've never tried Irish Tea Brack, I love the simplicity and the tradition of this recipe and wow it looks so tasty! xx
Thanks Hana x The simple things are the best I think 😉
Sasha @ Eat Love Eat
This looks amazing! And I love your teapot story. I just love to hear the stories behind he food. And! I'm totally with you - no glacé cherries allowed!!! Xxx
Thanks so much Sasha x Yay for no cherries 😉
Just seen this recipe. Turned out yummy. I used SR flour, no baking powder. Half the sugar but added a teaspoon of jam. Brilliant with butter and cheese...
Hi Bob, I'm so glad you enjoyed 🙂
This looks absolutely divine. I know what I'm baking tomorrow 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe.
Thank you so much Esther x I hope you enjoy it x