When my mum mentioned that my step-dad really loves Bara-Brith, I decided to bake him loaf for his birthday as a little extra homemade gift. I love (and prefer when possible) to give gifts that are tailor made to an individual's tastes, I think it shows the receiver just how much you care about them.
To make my sugar-crusted Bara-brith I went straight to the BBC Food website and I slightly adapted one of their recipes (original here) to include a sugar crust.
450g Dried Mixed Fruit
250g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
300ml Warm Black Tea (I used 2 teabags)
2tsp Mixed Spice
450g Self-raising Flour
1 Egg (free-ranged)
Demerara Sugar for the crust.
This recipe makes for one 2lb loaf tin.
1. Bara brith requires a little night before prep as the fruit needs to soak overnight. For this measure out 300ml of boiled water into a jug, add the brown sugar and tea bags and give it a little stir. While the sugar dissolves measure out your dried fruit into a mixing bowl and after giving give tea another quick stir (don't forget to remove the teabags), pour it over the dried fruit. Then mix together and cover with cling film until the following day.
2. Fast forward to the next day and it's time to mix everything together (I use my KitchenAid with the flat beater attachment to save time). Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper (or loaf tin liners like these).
3. Simply pour the now swollen fruit and tea mixture into the mixing bowl, add the mixed spice and self-raising flour then cracked the egg in as well. Then I just turned the mixer onto low for a few minutes to combine everything, stopping every now and then check everything is combining nicely. This shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes tops. When it's finished pour the heavy fruit mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle the top with as much or as little Demerara sugar as you like.
4. Pot it into the oven to bake for 1 1/2 hrs, at about the 1hr mark I covered the top lightly with a spare piece of baking paper to protect it from burning. After an 1/2 hr you need to check its ready with a skewer, if it comes out clear its ready if not give it an extra 5 minutes or so.
5. Once it's ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool down for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
I love the cracked effect the sugar crust gives and the word from my mum is that my step-dad is throughly enjoying his gift.
x B x