Next we come to Wales!
Wales is one of those countries that I feel like I have bizarre little connections to, but if I’m being real, I don’t actually have any real connections to. Just tiny things that make me look upon Wales with a smile and say “Hey, my name has Welsh origins!” or “Hey I just finished reading ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (my favorite movie, and a fun book) and the Wizard Howl is from Wales!” or “Hey, my roommate has been to Wales!” It’s a country that tend to look at favorably, but really know very little about it (like most Americans probably). So this was a good stop on my baking adventure! Yay learning things!!
Thanks to this recipe, I learned that Wales was the first country to be given Fairtrade status! “Wales” in Welsh is “Cymru”, pronounced “CUM-ree” (lol what??). Bara Brith is an old-timey bread, made with dried fruit marinated in tea, which has unfortunately been losing popularity over the past few decades. According to Wikipedia (always reliable right??), a chain of supermarkets called Morrisons (UK friends, is this like Tesco? Or Sainsburys?) took Bara Brith off it’s shelves due to lack of sales. and in 2006, a survey showed that 85% of teens in the UK had never tired it before. I would just like to ask, after having made myself some Bara Brith, WHAT IS WRONG WITH TEENAGERS IN THE UK THESE DAYS??? This stuff is so good!
“Bara Brith” actually means something like “spotted bread” in Welsh. And to give a more detailed description, it is a heavier bread, kind of like a beer bread. The dried fruit is soaked in black tea for a decent amount of time before being mixed in. It’s a little sweet, has nice spices, and is fantastic buttered and with a cup of tea. I’ve even grabbed a slice on my way out the door and eaten it plain.
From what I gather, the dried fruits usually used are raisins, currants, cranberries and/or dates. I didn’t want to use raisins, since one of my roommates is allergic, and I didn’t use currants either AGAIN, even though I went to a store I was told would have them (they didn’t). Aaaaand I also didn’t find dates. SO I ended up using dried cherries, cranberries and figs. And I’ll say right now, I do not regret it! This recipe also called for something called “mixed spice” which apparently is common in the UK. I just found a substitute spice mixture and made my own.
The recipe also required some sort of marmalade, so I dug out a little jar of some French clementine marmalade. I got it in a Try The World box, which is a thing I highly recommend if you like trying foods from other countries! Go check it out, if you’ve never heard of it! Anyway, the clementine marmalade was a lovely addition to the Bara Brith.
Seriously guys. This stuff is good. I feel like it would also be a good thing to make around the holidays. NOMS!
>>HERE<< is a link to the recipe I used, which provides some interesting Wales info and stuff
- 450 g / 2 ½ cups dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries, but currants and even dates work wonderfully)
- 400 ml /1 ¾ cups brewed black tea
- 225 g / 2 cups self-raising flour (white)
- 225 g / 2 cups plain wholemeal flour
- 175 g / ¾ cup unrefined sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp mixed spice (or ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, pinch of ground clove and a pinch of ground ginger)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp marmalade or jam (I used low-sugar apricot jam)
- Night Before: Set the fruit to soak in the tea overnight
- Baking Day: Preheat oven to 175 C / 325 F and grease and line two loaf pans (one large and one small, or else three small)
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, then add the other dry ingredients and mix.
- Beat the egg and add it to the mixture, along with the jam and fruit (with remaining tea) and stir until just mixed.
- Divide into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour (or until a skewer poked in center comes out clean). (Check the smaller loaves at 45 minutes.)
- Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then gently turn them out and cool completely before storing in an airtight container (or wrap).