I’m not much of a fruitcake fan but Tea Brack is an altogether different story. Because the fruit is soaked overnight it avoids the dryness that can often spoil a fruitcake, cuts into gorgeous thick slices and responds particularly well to being generously buttered and served with large pots of tea. The English Engineers, this time without Bridie, came to visit for the weekend so – as I had recently discovered that I had a stash of dried fruit, particularly golden raisins – I brewed up some tea on Thursday night, left the fruit to soak in quite a leisurely manner until Friday lunchtime, when I discovered that I needed to be in Cork at 6pm. The brack was promptly thrown together in a most hasty manner so that it would be cooked before I had to leave the house. Despite the hurry, it worked out well. I made double the mixture – two large 2lb loaves – and, the Engineers now on the plane home, there is just one half of the last brack left. I had intended to use a drop of whiskey to intensify the flavours but my search in our cellar (the unfinished gap under the stairs where we land all bottles of alcohol) showed that the Husband had imbibed the last of the Jameson during the last cold spell so I had to settle instead for the Ballyvoddy Damson Gin that I made last October.
Tagged: Tea Brack
Since I first wrote about the McDonnell’s Good Food Cookbooks I have had several emails asking for recipes that people remember from their childhood or enjoyed years ago but have since lost. The latest request, from Renee who wants to make the cake for a family occasion, is for the Tea Brack recipe from the first cookbook. This is one of our family favourites, a much used recipe, but – as I well remember from frustrated occasions searching for it – annoyingly filed under the name Irish Tea Brack in the Irish Tea Time Favourites chapter, just across the page from Gingerbread.
As the perfect birthday present for a person on the other side of the world to Ireland, Clare Connery’s Irish Cooking comes pretty close. There’s nothing new about this cookbook – nor does there need to be. With an introduction that brings the writings of Maura Laverty to mind, Connery talks about her grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen and the dishes that came from it.