Celebrate St Patrick's day with this delicious Irish bread. The word "brack" comes from the Gaelic brec which means speckled with fruit. In Ireland, the fruit is often soaked overnight in cold tea and whiskey to make it swell. It’s very good sliced and buttered, with cups of hot tea. A ring is sometimes stirred into the mixture and whoever gets it, it is said, will be married within the year. An un-yeasted version, made with baking powder, is known as tea brack.
- plain flour - 4 cups
- nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- salt - a pinch
- sugar - 2 tablespoons
- softened butter - 60g
- warm milk - 1 1/4 cups
- eggs - 2, beaten
- dry yeast - 1 1/2 sachets (10g)
- sultanas - 1 cup
- currants - 1 cup
- mixed candied peel - 1/2 cup
- boiling water - 2 tablespoons
- sugar - 1 tablespoon
Sift together the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Rub through the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle and pour in the warm milk, the beaten eggs and yeast.
Mix well to combine with a wooden spoon. Beat in the dried fruits until evenly distributed. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea-towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 – 2 hours (time will depend on the heat of the day – some days it may take longer).
Preheat oven to hot (190degC).
Turn into a greased 23cm diameter cake tin and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. Insert a skewer to check it is done.
Make the Glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water. Brush over the top of the brack and return to the oven for a further 3 minutes. Test with a skewer before removing from oven. Cool on a wire tray.