Tea Bread Recipes
My Favourites For Tea Time

Two of my all time favorite tea bread recipes: barm brack and pastry swirls!

Tea bread is a wonderfully comforting cake usually served with hot steamy tea and butter.

There are lots of different types of tea bread. They can be filled with fruit or packed with flavors. Even the simplest Madeira cake makes a delicious tea time treat.

Here are two of my favorite all time tea bread recipes - enjoy!

  • Irish Barm Brack - The original tea bread is an Irish sweet bread with raisins and other fruits in it. It is delicious eaten hot with butter, and is often served for breakfast alongside apple jelly.

  • Pastry Swirls - A savoury snack that is simple to make. You can add whatever filling you like and they look great on the plate.

Tea Bread Recipes #1:
Irish Barm Brack - The original tea bread recipe

tea bread recipes

Packed with fruit, it is great when toasted. It also uses little fat so you justify eating another slice!

Prep time: 20 mins

Baking time: 90 mins

Equipment needed: Mixing bowl, wooden spoon, scales, 1 lb loaf tin (greased), and wire cooling rack


One large mug of strong tea

500 g raisins and other dried fruits (dates, apricots, dates)

200g self-raising flour

200 g caster sugar (I like to use brown caster sugar)

1 large egg

2 tablespoons marmalade

1 and half teaspoons mixed spice

Butter (for greasing)

How to make:

Step 1. Soak the fruit overnight in the tea.

Step 2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees / gas 5.

Step 3. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar and mixed spice.

Step 4. Add the fruit and tea, mix well then add the egg and marmalade and combine well.

Step 5. Pour into the greased loaf tin

Step 6. Bake for an hour and a half then cool on a wire rack.

Tea Bread Recipes #2:
Pastry swirls – maximum effect for very little effort!

tea bread recipes

I like to serve up a savoury snack and have discovered a brilliant and simple recipe for pastry swirls – you can add whatever filling you like and they look great on the plate.

I like to make them a bit spicy with harissa sauce or you can use pesto for a lovely rich green swirl.

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

Equipment needed: Mixing bowl, wooden board, rolling pin, scales, pastry brush, baking sheet (greased), and wire rack


55 g shortening

55 g lard or refined cooking fat

200 g plain flour

20 ml milk

Suggested fillings: harissa and parmesan (use hard cheeses so they don’t melt and ooze), pesto, tomato and tuna sauce …

How to make:

Step 1. Cut the fat into cubes and rub into the flour, incorporating air as you go.

Step 2. Add 3 tablespoons freezing cold water and stir in with a knife, then using your hands bring together into dough. Add extra water as needed.

Step 3. Refrigerate for half an hour, wrapped in cling film.

Step 4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas 6.

Step 5. On a well-floured board divide the mixture into 3 equal pieces and work with them one at a time.

Step 6. Roll each into a long rectangle about 30 cm long and 20 cm wide.

Step 7. Spread each with filling – not right up to the edges.

Step 8. Roll into long swirly sausages and seal with milk. Brush with milk all over.

Step 9. Cut into 1 cm slices and place on the baking tray with the swirl facing up.

Step 10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy.

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