Serious tea drinkers and wellness enthusiasts celebrate “National Hot Tea Month” in January. During the month, many extol the virtues of tea drinking for health reasons, while others simply celebrate the culture and history of tea, its diverse blends and soothing qualities. Most agree that drinking tea is the perfect way to start the New Year. But none of this comes as a surprise to Irish tea lovers, whom some say have a relationship with tea that “transcends the ordinary” — hyperbole, perhaps, but given that the average person in Ireland drinks four to six cups a day, perhaps not!” Here’s the  perfect accompaniment to your next cuppa this month and beyond! You’ll find this and many others great options in my cookbook Teatime in Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit irishcook.com

TEA BRACK

Makes 2 Loaves

This easy fruit loaf is one of the easiest to make and most delightful to eat. Especially appropriate to serve with a hot cup of tea, the bread will keep well for several days and is delicious toasted for breakfast.

16 ounces mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, chopped dates, chopped apricots)

2 teaspoons candied mixed peel

1/4cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon. ground ginger or 1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger

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

1 1/4 cup cold black tea

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 cups self-rising flour

Softened butter, for spreading

  1. In a large bowl, combine the fruit, nuts, spices, and tea. Soak for 3 hours, or until the fruit absorbs most of the tea.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat two 7-inch loaf pans with no-stick baking spray with flour.
  3. Stir the egg, sugar, and flour into the fruit mixture; mix until well combined. Transfer to the prepared pan; smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven; let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack; return to upright and let cool completely before cutting into slices. Serve slices spread with butter.

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Tags: Baking, Cooking, Desserts, Irish Kitchen, Irish cooking, Meals, Recipes

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