Christmas Tea Bread
EVENT: FOODIES_ REDOING OLD POSTS #39
RECIPE: CHRISTMAS TEA BREAD
Christmas Tea Bread
Are you wondering why would anyone want to make a Christmas Tea Bread when there is a Christmas Cake around? Well, for one this Christmas Tea Bread is so easy to put together and secondly not everyone wants a rich Christmas Cake. This Christmas Tea Bread offers the soaked fruits, the warmth of spices but is so much lighter. This bread can replace the Christmas Cake easily, can be enjoyed for breakfast or even as an accompaniment to your cup of tea or coffee.
What is the difference between a cake and tea bread or quick bread?
The basic difference is the tin that its baked in. Normally, cakes are baked in a round tin or a square one while tea breads or quick breads are baked in a loaf tin. However, the other difference is that while quick breads or tea breads can be sweet or savory, cakes are usually sweet. Another difference between the two is that cakes tend to be much lighter as more eggs are used compared to quick breads or tea breads where less eggs are used and they tend to be a bit dense. Lastly, quick breads or tea breads are so much easier to put together. Its usually just mixing dry ingredients with the wet ones like we do so for muffins.
Is this tea bread only for Christmas?
Not really, I make this fruity and spicy tea bread often especially whenever I’m hosting a tea party. Sometimes, I bake it just so that its a good weekend treat for us with our tea or coffee. During Christmas and Diwali I like to bake them in smaller loaf tins so that I can give them away as gifts.
The first time I tried this Christmas Tea Bread was for my eldest son’s in laws. They were visiting us for the first time and thought they would want a cake or something similar with their tea or coffee. I was right, they enjoyed the tea bread with their coffee and also had it the next day for breakfast. It was their first visit to Kenya. Also was the first time we met each other. In spite of a slight language problem, we got along pretty well. They were in Mombasa for a few days only. We took them down to Tsavo East to get a feel as to how a safari is and they loved it. They couldn’t believe how beautiful the beach is.
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A bit more about the Christmas Tea Bread
The first time I tried the bread, I baked it using all purpose flour. Over time bit by bit I replaced it with wheat flour. Nowadays whenever I bake this Christmas Tea Bread, I use wheat flour. Also I replaced normal refined sugar with brown sugar. As for the dry fruits that I use, I add whatever I have at hand. Basically you can use any dry fruit of your choice, blueberries, cranberries, raisins, sultana, figs, dates, apricots, dried kiwi, pineapple, candied orange peel, etc. I’ve even used dry dates, which work pretty well as the fruits are soaked in hot black tea for an hour or so. Sometimes I soak them overnight.
Some more Quick Bread/Tea Bread Recipes
Corn Cornbread –a savory bread
Christmas Tea Bread as Edible Gift
Makes a perfect gift for any occasion. Make one big loaf or mini loaves.
Ingredients Required for Christmas Tea Bread
Flour – use either all purpose flour (plain flour) or wheat flour
Black Tea – strength of the tea depends on your taste. I like to make strong black tea. In that respect I love Kenyan tea as its full of flavour and aromatic too.
Baking Soda – soda bicarbonate.
Dried Fruits – of your choice. Can use dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins, sultana, figs, apricots, dry dates, mixed peels, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, mango, etc
Sugar – use either white sugar or brown one. I prefer to use brown sugar.
Egg – lightly beaten
Orange Marmalade – adds a lovely flavour to the bread. However, if you don’t have any, replace it with orange jam or apricot jam.
Tea Masala – or chai spice mixture. I use the tea masala I make at home. If you don’t have any, its readily available in stores. Or make a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, nutmeg and pepper powders according to your taste. Click on the link for the homemade tea masala recipe. Can replace the Tea Masala with any spice mixture of your choice.
CHRISTMAS TEA BREAD
- 1 cup black tea cold
- 1¼ cups dried fruit cranberries, raisins, sultanas, blueberries, mixed peel etc
- 1½ cup wheat flour
- ⅓ - ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda soda bicarbonate
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg beaten
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- 1 tsp mixed spice or tea masala
- Soak the dried fruit in the black tea overnight or till the fruit plumps up.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Sift or sieve flour, spice mixture, baking powder, soda bicarbonate and salt together.
- In a mixing bowl,add marmalade, beaten egg and sugar.
- Whisk it well.
- Add the soaked fruit and remaining tea. Mix well.
- Add the flour mixture. Mix till the flour becomes wet.
- Grease a loaf tin (9X5 inches). Dust it with some flour.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Bake the bread for 1 hr or till it is done. Insert a toothpick or a fork into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, then the bread is ready.
- Allow the bread to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the tin and let it cool for a while on a wire rack.
- Slice the bread and serve with some butter, marmalade, honey or on its own.
- Take any dried fruit you like but the total amount should be about 1¼ cups.
- Ready made tea masala is readily available in most supermarkets and Indian grocery stores.
- If you're in a hurry, soak the fruit in hot black tea for 1 hour.
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