04 February 2013

The Brack is Back

Today I present two recipes using golden assam tea, both of which were made for “events.” 

Golden Assam Tea Bread

and Irish Tea Brack

But Q, you say, I thought you weren’t going to post more than one recipe per post?!  Well, no, I’m trying not to, but one of these recipes is a rerun.  I ought to trust myself more. As I searched for this recipe, I failed to take into account that after I separated out the recipes from my gonzo 2011-2012 posts, I have two posts with “brack” in the title, and the bread recipe was in the second post. I knew it was on this blog somewhere! Anyway, I redid the recipe, and I used chia seeds in the egg replacer since I think they bind better. I used different dried fruit as I have a friend with date sensitivity. I also used different flours in a different ratio since that’s what I have in my pantry.

Irish Tea Brack

1 cup brewed hot tea (I used three tablespoons of golden assam tea, steeped overnight, then strained and briefly reheated)

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup prunes, pitted and chopped
1 cup dates, chopped (for my date-avoiding friends, I used 1 1/4 cup raisins, 1 1/4 cup craisins, and 1 cup dried apricots, chopped)

1/4 cup hot water or more tea
1 teaspoon chia seeds

2/3 cup GF oat flour
2/3 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains flour blend
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2/3 cup Sucanat

In a large bowl, combine the dried fruit and the tea.  Press down the fruit so it is mostly covered by tea.  Set aside for an hour or more to soak.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan.

In small measuring cup, combine the water or tea and chia seeds and set aside.  In a large bowl, sift then whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the Sucanat and whisk to combine.  A dash of cinnamon is nice here.  Add the dried fruit and any unabsorbed tea.  Stir as much as you can and then add the chia seed mixture.  Mix well and mix hard until everything is combined.  Transfer to the pan and spread it to fit the pan.  Bake for 60-65 minutes or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan until you can handle it, about 30 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

The Lady Neona and I discussed this bread a week ago as I was pondering what to do with the rest of the golden assam tea that I didn’t want to drink, and so I brought the bread to her birthday party.  I also brought dolmades, in which I used just two tablespoons of regular raisins and fresh parsley instead of the dill.

Both dishes were a hit…wonder why?  Well, my energy may be all over the map at the moment, coming off the transition to the new job (I was working full time and part time at the same time.  Two paychecks were not worth it.  Time to stop, sleep, exercise, and frickin’ breathe is real money). However, I have been relieved of a huge energy-suck, my “helloship” (it took me until last week to come up with that. Clearly I have been creatively blocked). I did yoga and tried to keep my energy burning positively, my chakras cleared, as I cooked. I wanted to put as much love and light as I possibly could into my culinary creations—and I always want to do that. It’s now a wee bit easier to do so as I take steps towards my ideal career (health coach, writer, vegan and gluten-free baker—all at the same time).

For the last few weeks, what I have made has turned out mainly overdone.

Chocolate pecan torte?  Texture was stretchy and taste was “chalky,” as Rach said.

Red velvet cheesecake cake?  Back to the drawing board.  Cakes didn’t rise, I overestimated the pan size, 

and coconut sugar a good cheezecake filling doth not make.

Avocado chocolate waffles: overly-crisped and under-sweetened one batch; second batch was too much sugar for me at that point in the week and I lacked the sleep to make better decisions.

At least I made these gems, Ancient Grains Biscuits (recipe forthcoming), on Saturday for the pirate feast. They were light, crunchy from stone-ground cornmeal (we were at a legit historical mill), and there were no leftovers.

Clearly, my energy was picking up again. Leigh's nourishing vegan and gluten-free vegetable soup helped things along even more (leftovers pictured below). 

Eating food made with love is how we rock and  roll!

The remnants of various subpar desserts and a way-too-sweet-for-its-caloric-pricetag chocolate peanut butter made it into another chocolate cryogenic dessert. My theory is by treating myself to something in moderate doses on a regular basis, I will not feel obligated to inhale half the jar of Peanut Butter & Co.'s Chocolate Peanut Butter.

Energetically, overbaking makes sense since I was merely reflecting in my art, my cooking, the pressure under which I put myself by working two jobs for two weeks. Don’t even ask about how tortured my poetry was, when I got out a piece, in the last month.

I made this tea bread for the SCA Lochmere Midwinter Revel. It was a festive VGF option for the Abbey at Kilbride Croft contingent’s part of the table.

Golden Assam Tea Bread
Inspired by: http://dailydishrecipes.com/gottagetbaked-earl-grey-tea-loaf/

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon golden assam loose tea

6 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons chia seeds

1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons golden assam loose tea
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used rice or almond, I forget which)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup raisins

Heat the 1/4 cup water and the 1 tablespoon tea in a small saucepan until it boils.  Turn off the heat and set aside.  Go about your business for an hour for it to steep to the point of bitterness.  Now get to work.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9*4-inch loaf pan.

In a small measuring cup, combine the chia seeds and hot water.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift in then whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking , salt, tea, and spices. In a blender or food processor, combine the steeped tea (and leaves, oh yes), chia seed mixture, non-dairy milk, vinegar, vanilla, coconut sugar, and coconut oil until uniformly blended.  Add the wet to the dry in three additions, stirring well after each.  Fold in the raisins.  Transfer to the pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cracked and browned on the top, it sounds hollow when tapped, it springs back to the touch, and a knife or toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Funny story, the recipe warns us not to over bake the bread, but I did anyway and it was slightly crunchy.  With the dark flavour of the golden assam tea, though, I don’t think that was entirely detrimental.

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