tea brack (tea soaked fruit loaf)

prep overnight        cook 1 hr 10 mins        makes a 12 slice loaf

3 bags good, black tea (Yorkshire Red Label or any good Assam based blend)

300 ml (1 1/2 cups) freshly boiled very hot water

150 g (1cup) pitted prunes, diced                            

100 g (1cup) chopped candied citrus peel          

100 g (1/2 cup) glace cherries, diced

4 tbsp whisky

90 g -120 g (3/4 - 1 cup) molasses sugar or any soft, dark sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

200 g (2 cups) plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground allspice or your favourite cake spice blend

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven at 150 C (300 F). Line a 23 cm (9 in) by 10 cm (4 in) by 7.5 cm (3 in) loaf tin.

Make tea with the tea bags and hot water, steeping for 5 minutes, to get a strong brew. Gently squeeze tea bags into teacup, before discarding.

Put diced fruit and whisky into a large mixing bowl and pour over the hot tea. Stir and cover. Keep overnight or at least 8 hours. If in a rush, soak for 1 hour or until mixture is cold.

Stir sugar into fruit mix until more or less dissolved. Stir in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice and salt and sieve in 2 or 3 lots over egg and fruit mixture. Fold in lightly but thoroughly with a large, thin, flat spoon until no flour is visible. Don't overmix or loaf will be heavy textured.

Transfer batter into tin and level top. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a small pointed knife comes out clean from the centre. Remove from tin and cool on wire rack. Slice when slightly warm or cold and serve with strong milky tea. Slices may be eaten plain, or spead with butter. I like it with butter and a little golden syrup.