Bara Brith

Sep 16th, 2010 by Gemma

Bara Brith is a traditional Welsh food. It translates literally to Speckled Bread. It varies depending on which part of Wales you are in, though I’m a fan of the South Wales version, more of a fruit cake. The North Walian is a yeast bread, I have yet to try that one.

I dislike saying that it’s like a fruit cake since American fruitcakes have a bad reputation, dry, hard and heavy. Rather than the moist and rich cakes I grew up with. Sure they can be a little dense, but not doorstop like. Bara Brith isn’t even dense, it’s surprisingly light for what it is!

It takes a small amount of planning ahead as the fruit needs to soak in the tea overnight. I like to make the tea nice and strong, with a few tea bags thrown in there to stew (don’t forget to take them out when they’re done). Just plain, simple black tea, nothing fancy! I also add the brown sugar at this point, stirring it in the hot water to dissolve. Cover and leave it overnight.

When you come back the next day the fruit will look wonderfully plump and juicy, full of tea and what could possibly be wrong with that! All the dry ingredients are stirred in, all purpose flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of ginger and some baking powder. Then when that’s almost mixed in stir in the eggs.

Hopefully you were prepared and have your tin all ready and your oven warmed. I like to line the tin with parchment going both ways. Pour in the mix and smooth it out.

It bakes for about an hour, leaving the kitchen smelling wonderful. Leave it to cool for a while before you take it out the tin.

Serve sliced, spread with butter.

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