As my wife originates from Wales I try to cook up something Welsh related on March 1st every year to celebrate the feast day of St.David. Last year it was Welsh cakes; this year I turned to another famous baked item from Wales: bara brith.
Bara brith translates from the Welsh into “speckled bread”, a fruity loaf made with dried fruit and mixed spices. The fruit is traditionally steeped in tea overnight to enhance the flavour, and the loaf is typically served sliced and buttered with a cup of tea.
Mixed spice is a peculiarly British blend that seems to have no direct equivalent in the States. The closest thing in the USA is pumpkin pie spice but that is usually too heavy on the cinnamon for my liking, so I mix my own blend from allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, coriander and ginger.
Enjoy, and have a happy St.David’s Day, or dydd gŵyl dewi hapus.
1lb dried mixed fruit (I used a 50/50 mix of sundried raisins and golden raisins)
9oz brown sugar
10 fl.oz. warm black tea (I made a strong brew of English Breakfast Tea)
2 tsp mixed spice (see recipe below)
1lb self raising flour
1 egg, beaten
Mix the fruit and the sugar with the tea and leave to steep overnight.
The following day, preheat the oven to 325F.
Pour the mix into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper.
Put in the oven and bake for around 70-75 minutes. The bara brith is done when a skewer stuck into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground mace
0.25 tsp ground ginger
0.25 tsp ground coriander
0.25 tsp ground cloves
Mix the spices together until thoroughly blended. Store in a sealed container. As well as using in this recipe this is a versatile mix that can also be used in other British baking recipes like fruit cake and hot cross buns.