Fruity Tea Bread
Makes 1 x 900g loaf
This is a lovely moist tea bread that is delicious thickly sliced and buttered and served with a generous chunk of cheese. My current favourite to pair with this is Stitchelton or an aged Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, I love the contrast between sweet and savoury , I know not to everyone’s taste, but to me a match made in heaven.
You can use any dried fruits that you have in the cupboard as long as you make up to the specified weight in the recipe. I tweak mine a bit and go slightly off piste, adding chopped stem ginger, dried apricots and cranberries together with sultanas and currants. The only thing you do have to do is to start the preparation the day before, but that is not too arduous – it only involves weighing out the fruit and making up about 300ml of really hot, strong tea. The tea can be “builders” tea, Earl Grey or your own preference, this is to make the fruits fat and juicy. You could also adjust the liquid ratio and add a bit of Pedro X sherry or a sweet sherry to the mix – any that is lurking in the back of the drink’s cupboard. Pour over the fruit, cover, and leave overnight. One other thing – it can take up to 2 hours to cook (depending on your oven) so keep checking with a skewer after about an hour and half to see if it is done.
350g dried fruits – your choice or just sultanas and currants
300ml of very strong, hot tea
275g self-raising flour
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
225g muscovado sugar – light or dark (I use dark and it comes out a bit like Malt loaf)
1 large organic free-range egg beaten
Put the dried fruits in a bowl and cover with hot tea and leave to soak overnight
Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment
Add the rest of the ingredients to the soaked fruits and mix well
Pop it into the lined loaf tin and level it off
Cook in preheated oven at 150C/130C fan/Gas 3.5 until risen, golden brown and cooked.
This should take between 1.5hrs – 2 hrs.
Cool in the tin and then turn out and enjoy sliced and buttered with a chunk of your favourite cheese.