Barm brack, a fruited loaf made with tea, is also known in Ireland as St. Brigid’s bread. This is a slight variation on the theme, because I have added a teaspoonful of baking soda to lift the whole wheat flour.
Put the brown or granulated sugar, dried fruit, and peel into a bowl and pour on the tea. Cover and leave to stand for at least 6 hours.
Add the beaten egg and softened butter to the fruit mixture and stir in. Add the flour, baking soda, and spice, and beat until smooth. Put into a greased and lined 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan.
Put the rhubarb into a non-metallic saucepan with the 1 teaspoon sugar and a small amount of water. (If you do not want to use sugar with the rhubarb, a piece of angelica stalk will remove tartness from the fruit.) Poach the rhubarb for just a few minutes, as you want to keep the pieces whole. Drain.
Pour the rhubarb over the tea bread (you could also pour the juice from the rhubarb over the top just before serving). Top with fresh cream, whipped if you prefer. As with all such breads, it can also be eaten spread liberally with butter.
© 1999 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.