Irish Tea Brack for Seamus Heaney

This recipe is in remembrance of Seamus Heaney whose poem, “Remembered Columns”, came to mind last week soon after the tornado created turmoil and destruction in Nashville.

These are times to test us, a time of tornadoes both real and metaphorical.

These are times of social uncertainty, times when we need each other the most while being encouraged to practice “social distancing”.

These are strange and interesting times.

It might just be the time to make all those recipes you have been saving for “later” which is what I have been doing. I have had this recipe for Irish Tea Brack for a few years and finally made it this week. It’s a traditional Irish bread chock-full of dried fruit that is soaked in cold tea and is just fabulous toasted and smeared with butter and/or some soft Camembert.

Thick slabs of “brack” smeared with Kerrygold Butter and soften Camembert was a very good lunch today. Comforting and homey for a quiet St. Patrick’s Day celebration reading Seamus Heaney whose poetry can touch the soul.

Another post from a few years ago on a tornadic night in Nashville “Stormy Turnips and Twisty Tornadoes”

Be kind, be patient. Be safe.

Irish Tea Brack for Seamus Heaney

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups dried fruit, a mix of whatever you like such as cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, gooseberries, currants, etc…
  • 1 1/3 cup cold tea (I used Earl Grey and Green Tea mixed)
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (just whirl regular in a food processor)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
  • To serve: softened Kerrygold butter and Camembert cheese

Directions:

  1. Soak the dried fruit in the tea overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular size loaf pan.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and pie spice together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the dried fruit-tea mixture, the egg and sugar to the flour mix. Blend well and scrape into the prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour or until a dark golden brown on top. Test bread with a  toothpick or skewer to make sure it is cooked throughout. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn out loaf on the rack to continue to cool.
  6. Delicious sliced and toasted with butter. A smear of Camembert makes it all the better.

This recipe is from the cookbook “homemade” by Clodagh McKenna, published 2011 by Kyle Books.

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