Friday, September 02, 2016

Easing In To Fall With Tea Brack

Fall is my favorite season, so I usually hurry it a bit. Can't help it. I've already put the autumn wreaths up by the doors and since my garden has produced at least 21 pumpkins, I've perched three on each side of the front steps. They are super cute and add a zing of orange, too.

Driving around the area I notice that the trees have gotten into the early fall spirit and the leaves are already changing from green to various shades of gold, red, orange and brown, too. These are wild grape leaves I spotted while walking the dog a few days ago.

Tea Brack is a dense, moist sweet loaf bread, jam-packed with currants, raisins, candied orange and lemon peel, all of them pre-soaked in strong tea. There are warm spices, too. Tea Brack makes a lovely snack in the afternoon with a cup of tea. Cream cheese to spread on that slice is optional.

Tea Brack
one medium loaf
from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

1 cup white raisins (I used a mixture of dark, golden, and red raisins)
3/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped candied peel (I used half lemon and half orange peels)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cold tea (orange pekoe is fine, I used English Breakfast)
1/4 cup rum, Scotch, Irish whiskey, or brandy (I used Scotch)(optional but nice)
2 cups bread or all-purpose flour (I used half all-purpose, unbleached and half King Arthur Flour Irish whole-meal flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon EACH ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and salt
1 egg, room temperature, well beaten

Grease and line sides and bottom with buttered waxed paper - 1 medium (8" x 4") loaf pan. Leave the paper ends sticking out about 1/2 inch so the loaf can be pulled from the pan. Set aside. (You can prepare the pan the next day after the fruit is marinated.)

In a bowl combine the raisins, currants, candied peel, brown sugar and cold tea. Add a dollop of brandy or rum to give it a secret goodness, although this is optional. Cover tightly with plastic wrap so that no moisture escapes and let marinate overnight.

The next day...Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. while making the batter.

In a clean bowl mist together, with your clean fingers, or a spoon, the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the marinated fruit mixture, stir well to combine, and add the egg. The mixture will be on the thin side. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the loaf slowly in the 325 degree oven until a toothpick comes out dry when pierced into the load, about 1 1/2 hours. If using a convection oven, reduce heat; bake at 300 degrees F.

Remove the bread from the oven. Place on a wire rack about 5 minutes to cool, then remove the bread from the pan, discard the paper, and let cool completely before slicing.

Serve with butter or cream cheese...and tea!
I suspect that you could marinate everything and keep it in the refrigerator (for at least a few weeks) until you wanted to make the Tea Brack. That would mean that it would all be done in less than two hours. 


  1. Today's thrift store find was a Gap cloche hat, pumpkin orange, with a bow.
    HURRY, autumn!!!!!

    Tech Boy has interviewed with a company in Iceland. May get an offer on Monday. We sincerely hope that you and Sweetie come and visit, if this works out. Serious visits, for many days; we LOVE that place!

    fingers crossed...

  2. Iceland! How exciting. Maybe we should try for meeting in Sebastopol, Petaluma, Napa or Sonoma or Benicia or Vallejo before you leave? Then a visit for many days would be awesome. Have heard nothing but positive things from those who have actually gone to Iceland. Could be a blast!

  3. 21 pumpkins! wow. What are you going to make with them? Bet they are much tastier than the watery ones we seem to get here.
    That tea bread looks delicious. My mum loves to eat this lightly toasted and spread with butter. Love how fruity it is

  4. Katie, right now I'm decorating the front steps with little ones, but eventually I hope to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and maybe pumpkin soup, plus some roasted as a veg with butternut squash and onions and thyme. The grew from seeds in some pumpkins from last year that I knocked into the garden when the season was over. Who knew that they would be such great plants? I'll let you know if they are watery or not once I start using them for food. Right now they are just adorable as a welcome to my front porch.