Bischofsbrot (Bishop’s Bread)

This recipe is for one of the many sweet dishes in Rose Seidler’s recipe collection, originally recorded in German (see below). 

Studded with colourful glacé fruits, Bischofsbrot, or Bishop’s bread, is an egg-rich, sweetened loaf popular in northern Europe. It is traditionally served to celebrate special events on the Christian calendar, at Easter in particular. The vibrant colours from the glacé fruit are said to symbolise stained-glass windows, a feature of many churches and cathedrals. The inclusion of Bischofsbrot indicates that the recipes in Rose Seidler’s collection were not only acquired through the family’s Jewish community network.

Ingredients

140g butter, softened, plus 1 teaspoon extra to grease the baking tin
140g icing sugar, sifted
6 eggs, separated 
200g glacé fruit, diced*
Zest of 1 small lemon*
100g slivered or blanched almonds
140g plain flour, sifted, plus 1 tablespoon extra to dust the fruit
Extra icing sugar, to dust after baking

Serves 8

* You can replace the glacé fruit with a mixture of colourful dried fruit such as apricots, apples, sultanas and cranberries, soaked in freshly boiled water for 15 minutes and then well drained. Replace the lemon zest with store-bought mixed peel for additional citrus flavour, colour and texture.

Note: Bishop’s bread needs to be made a day before serving.

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Grease the base and sides of a loaf tin with 1 teaspoon of butter and dust with a little flour.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Dust the fruit and zest with a tablespoon of flour and toss to lightly coat the pieces (this helps to prevent them sinking to the bottom of the cake). Stir the fruit and the almonds into the bowl, and fold in half the flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold them through the batter with the remaining flour, being careful not to overwork the batter.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned on top and cooked through. Test by inserting a skewer into the centre of the loaf – the skewer should come out clean and dry.

Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack and dust it with the sifted extra icing sugar. 

Note: Once completely cooled, store the loaf overnight in a container covered with a cloth. Do not slice until the next day.


 

Translation from the original German

Gift of Penelope Seidler AM. Photo © Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

Bischofsbrot (Bishop’s bread)

Cream 14 dkg* (140g) butter with 14 dkg (140g) icing sugar until fluffy, and then add, one at a time: 6 egg yolks, 20 dkg (200g) diced candied fruit, some lemon zest, 10 dkg (100g) diced almonds and finally 14 dkg (140g) flour together with 6 firm snow [egg whites, beaten until stiff]. Scrape into a buttered and floured Bishop’s Bread tin and bake for 40–50 minutes in a medium oven. Put onto a cake rack when still hot, dust with sugar, do not slice until the next day.

* 1dkg (dekagram) equals 10g

The original recipe appears on page 5 of the folio of sweet recipes.

Translated by Avril Vorsay.

About the author

Jacqui Newling wearing a red top and glasses

Dr Jacqui Newling

Assistant curator

Jacqui brings over ten years of ‘visitor first’ interpretation experience to her role as a curator at SLM. She specialises in place-based social history and heritage, bringing meaningful stories from our past to contemporary audiences through various forms of media, from exhibitions to interactive opportunities for visitors in our museums. 

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