Barmbrack (Irish loaf)

1 cup cold leftover tea (I use black tea)
1 cup raisins
½ cup fruit peel (I use a mixture of lemon and orange rind)
½ cup currants
1 cup granulated sugar (I use sucunat – healthier)
1 egg
¼ cup melted butter (I prefer to use olive oil – healthier)
2 cups all-purpose flour (or spelt flour)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
¼ tsp salt

**Put tea in a large bowl along with raisins, peel, currants and sugar.
Cover and let stand overnight.

Next morning, beat egg until frothy.  Stir in fruit mixture.  Stir melted butter (or oil) into fruit. In a separate bowl, combine and stir the four remaining dry ingredients.  Add to fruit batter.  Stir until blended.  Spoon into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Bake in 350 degree F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes turn out on a rack to cool.  Yields 1 loaf.

***If olive oil is too strong a taste for you, use Safflower oil.

The interesting story about Bambrack

In the early days of the Abbey Theatre (Ireland’s National Theatre), Lady Gregory would always arrive from Coole Park, her home in County Galway, with a barmbrack in her holdall.  It was her custom to preside at tea in the Green room surrounded by writers and actors.  At Hallow’s Eve (October 31), the barmbrack is baked with a wedding ring wrapped in paper and mixed into the dough.  If your slice of brack contains the wedding ring, you will be engaged before the year is out.

**(To make this Irish loaf, start the first part of the recipe, the previous evening.  You will find it moist and different from your usual fruit bread)