Just like our Scottish speciality from a few weeks ago, Welsh Bara Brith has no particular location link and is popular across the nation. Our cooks this week are the Ferguson family from Llanelli, in South Wales.
Bara means bread and brith means speckled.
There are a few variations on the recipe – some use yeast, while others use self-raising flour. There’s even an Argentinian version called Torta Negra Galesa (Welsh Black Cake), introduced by the Welsh migrants to South America in the 19th century. As in Wales, it is traditionally served at teatime, sliced and spread with butter, along with a nice cup of tea.
The Fergusons chose the following version of the recipe and they report that the result was “Hyfryd!” (Lovely!)
You will need:
- 400g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants)
- 300ml strong hot tea
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 100g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- Honey to glaze
Put the dried fruit into a bowl with the sugar.
Pour the tea onto the fruit and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Cover the bowl and leave the fruit soaking in the tea for at least 6 hours.
Add the flour, spice and egg and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F or Gas 4.
Line a loaf tin with baking paper or greased greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture.
Bake for about 1 hour. You can check that it is cooked by pushing in a skewer or a knife, which should come out without mixture stuck to it.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
If you want a glazed topping, warm a little honey and drizzle it over the cake before it has completely cooled. Although the Fergusons didn’t do this, they thought that it sounded like “a fab idea”.
Your bara brith will keep well for a week, and it is recommended to store it for a couple of days before eating to allow the flavours to develop.
Serve sliced with butter and a cup of tea!