Tea breads are very simple to make, but need a little planning ahead. They are traditionally made by soaking sultanas, raisins and sugar in Indian tea overnight, before mixing in eggs, spices and flour. The Welsh form of this is called Bara Brith or ’Speckled Bread’. As it contains no fat, it is best served spread with butter.
There are many changes and additions you can make to the original recipe. It can be made with honey instead of sugar, wholemeal self-raising flour instead of white self-raising flour and a variety of fruit and nuts. The tea can be replaced with different types of tea, fruit infusions or herbal infusions. This recipe is made with green tea and flavoured with lemon zest and juice, and unsulphured apricots, cranberries and blueberries. Although the tea is a pale green when added to the fruit, it turns a deep purple and produces a dark bread. Because the fruit has absorbed the tea overnight, the bread is very moist, even without the addition of any fat.
Lemon-infused green tea bread
Unsulphured dried apricots400g
Soft brown sugar666g
Grated lemon zest 20g
Hot green tea1,500g
1. Put the blueberries, cranberries, apricots, brown sugar, lemon zest and juice in a bowl. Pour in the tea and mix well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 150C/Fan oven 130C and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
3. Add the beaten eggs to the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift the spices and flour together in a large bowl and add the fruit mixture. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps of flour and pour into the loaf tin. Then put into the oven and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours. Check it is cooked by pushing a sharp knife into the centre of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the loaf is cooked. Once cooked, leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve, cut in slices and spread with butter.