Earl Grey Fruited Tea Loaf

*Earl Grey Fruited Tea Loaf*
Makes one 2 pound loaf

This is a moist and fruity loaf that is delicious sliced thinly and buttered, toasted or not as you please.  Plan ahead as you must soak the fruit overnight prior to baking. I use a luxury mix of fruit, which has dried currants, sultanas, raisins, dried cranberries and cherries. This loaf keeps beutifully and freezes well. You can keep it for about a week wrapped in greaseproof paper, foil or in an airtight tin.

400g mixed dried fruit (2 2/3 cups)
120g dark muscovado sugar (1/2 cup, plus 1 TBS, packed, can use dark brown sugar)
300ml hot earl grey tea, freshly made and strongly steeped (1 1/3 cups)
225g self raising flour (1 1/4 cups plus 3 tsp)
1 large free range egg, beaten lightly

Place the fruit into a bowl along with the sugar. Pour the hot tea over it.  Cover with a tea towel and leave to set overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 2 pound loaf tin and line it with baking paper. 

Sift the flour over the dried fruit in the bowl and add the beaten egg. Stir everything together until combined.  Spread into the prepared loaf tin.

Bake for 1 hour.  Reduce the oven temperature to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the tin on a wire rack.  Turn out once cold and remove the paper.  Store airtight.  I like to leave it overnight before slicing.
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