We mentioned a few days ago that one of our St Nicholas Day traditions was baking bishop’s bread and that we hadn’t got round to it. In the great tradition of better late than never we got round to it today. We met up with a friend, and having previously agreed her cookbook had the wrong recipe (Bishop’s Bread is not, as per our mutual experience a light sponge affair) we eked out ours.
Ours comes from this website or that documenting the recipes of L. M. Montgomery, since, as also previously mentioned, Judy Plum of Pat of Silver Bush fame was the first person we encountered, fictive or otherwise, to bake Bishop’s bread. We wish we remembered the source for the sake of citing it, but alas, it was long ago and we have failed to rediscover it. Suffice to say Judy Plum’s recipe, so far as we could parse from the description, is also not a sponge.
So why, when fed into Google, was the internet insisting six ways from Sunday that it was? Well, it turns out the crucial part of the description of Judy Plum’s famous Bishop’s Bread – and we know this was keeping lots of you up at night wondering – is that it’s Australian. And once we started asking for Aussie Bishop’s Bread recipes, suddenly they got a lot less spongey and a lot more like the fruitcake-adjacent loaf we ritually bake.
So, what tea does one put with Bishop’s Bread? Well, in the event it was Red Rose, and no one’s contesting the origin of that. Only in Canada, eh? Pity. But there go facts trying to spoil a perfectly good segue. We actually began the day with Springtime Darjeeling from Germany. It was heartier than the previous darjeeling, and less delicate, but still good. Darjeelings always are. Some black teas give you gradations but as a rule of thumb it’s hard to find a bad darjeeling.
Likewise Oolongs. We’ve never met one we didn’t like and tonight’s Salted Caramel Oolong was no exception. It’s not exactly sweet – we wouldn’t call it a desert tea in the way of some of the flavoured teas we’ve sampled. The caramel gives it a smoothness and creaminess that works excellently with the fermented flavour of the oolong. It’s lovely, dark, and rich. Perfect for another round of that mystery series our father continues to mistake for the zombie apocalypse. (This is mostly made funny by the fact he’d be the last person to watch anything about a zombie apocalypse.)
Here’s a poem by L. M. Montgomery to go with the recipe her book inspired us to track down. You’ll notice no one quibbles about Bishop’s Bread and it’s culinary particulars. We did look, but some things are just too specific even for Google.
L. M. Montgomery
A pale enchanted moon is sinking low
Behind the dunes that fringe the shadowy lea,
And there is haunted starlight on the flow
Of immemorial sea.
I am alone and need no more pretend
Laughter or smile to hide a hungry heart;
I walk with solitude as with a friend
Enfolded and apart.
We tread an eerie road across the moor
Where shadows weave upon their ghostly looms,
And winds sing an old lyric that might lure
Sad queens from ancient tombs.
I am a sister to the loveliness
Of cool far hill and long-remembered shore,
Finding in it a sweet forgetfulness
Of all that hurt before.
The world of day, its bitterness and cark,
No longer have the power to make me weep;
I welcome this communion of the dark
As toilers welcome sleep.