Barmbrack (Irish Fruit Bread)

By Jennifer McGruther
Jennifer McGruther
Jennifer McGruther
Jennifer McGruther, NTP, is a nutritional therapy practitioner, herbalist, and the author of three cookbooks, including “Vibrant Botanicals.” She’s also the creator of NourishedKitchen.com, a website that celebrates traditional foodways, herbal remedies, and fermentation. She teaches workshops on natural foods and herbalism, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.
October 26, 2021 Updated: October 26, 2021

Barmbrack is a dense, spiced bread that’s speckled with dried fruit. Raisins are traditional, but you can also add glacé cherries or candied citrus peel. Tea gives the bread a lovely flavor, but some bakers add a bit of whiskey in place of some of the tea for a little more complexity.

Makes 1 loaf, to serve about 8

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 1/2 cups hot, brewed black tea
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Arrange the raisins, golden raisins, and currants in a bowl and cover them with hot tea. Let them plump in the hot tea for about 4 hours.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Strain the fruit, reserving the tea in one bowl and the plumped raisins and currants in a separate bowl.

Whisk the flour with baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Then stir in the brown sugar, and beat in the egg and reserved tea. Fold in the plumped fruit.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick pricked into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool in its pan about 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Jennifer McGruther, NTP, is a nutritional therapy practitioner, herbalist, and the author of three cookbooks, including “Vibrant Botanicals.” She’s also the creator of NourishedKitchen.com, a website that celebrates traditional foodways, herbal remedies, and fermentation. She teaches workshops on natural foods and herbalism, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.