Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rhys Bowen presents BARMBRACK

LUCY BURDETTE: We're so happy to have Rhys Bowen as our guest chef and blogger today! Rhys is currently writing TWO bestselling and prizewinning mystery series, the Molly Murphy series and the Royal Spyness series. HUSH NOW, DON'T YOU CRY hits bookshelves this week. Welcome to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen Rhys!

RHYS BOWEN: Since it's almost St Patrick's Day and also the launch of my 12th Molly Murphy Mystery called Hush Now, Don't You Cry, I decided that it should be an Irish recipe. I've chosen not the traditional soda bread but a rich fruity bread called Barmbrack that my mother-in-law used to make. There are many versions, some fancy, some with yeast, but this is the simple one. In Ireland this bread is traditionally served at Halloween with charms inside to foretell the future, exactly the same as the charms in the English Christmas pudding.



  • 1 3/4 cups brewed black tea, cold
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied citron (or can be any combination of dried fruit)
  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Put the tea, sugar, raisins and peel into a bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch round pan (or I use a loaf pan. Easier to cut)
  3. Sift the flour into the fruit mixture, add the egg and beat well.
  4. Pour into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Serve sliced thinly with butter at tea.


  1. Welcome, Rhys! It's nice to see you here. Love the cover. I can just imagine the sinister goings on at the manor in the background.

    I'm fascinated by the tea in Barmbrack. I'm a big tea drinker, so I'm very eager to try this!

    ~ Krista

  2. Good morning, Rhys! Nice to see you here.

    This sounds like a lovely recipe, and I've never seen one that used tea (as someone who usually has a half-filled pot of cold tea handy, I'm ready!)

  3. I used to make it often as I love fruity breads and the tea plumps up the fruit very nicely. Since all that fruit has far too much sugar I haven't made it recently!

  4. I love tea as well, so this recipe should be fun to make. I truly love both of your series as well. I can't wait to discover what Molly is up to!

  5. Yum! Will you come over and share it? I think a mlk tea party should be on the agenda...
    Eager to read the new Molly! Xx

  6. Hey, I'm going to try this recipe substituting candied ginger for fruit - sounds delicious!