If there is one foodstuff that I associate with this time of year, it is this delicious loaf of fruitiness. It is almost a cross between a loaf of fruit bread and a cake and is lusciously moist. The main reason for this is the strong tea that the fruit is soaked in before it is added to the cake mixture. It can be found in every supermarket in Ireland in the lead up to Halloween but I have struggled to find it in the UK. One of the best things about this recipe is that the tea is the main liquid in the brack and so you dont need any fats such as butter. I love to toast a slice of this and spread it with butter for a perfect autumnal breakfast. There are all sorts of traditions surrounding this but for me, the best tradition is sitting with my family drinking warm tea and munching on a slice of this of an evening.
16 slices, 4pp per slice (unbuttered!)
- 400g Mixed dried fruit – You could use equal quantities of raisins, sultanas and currants but I am shockingly lazy when it comes to this!
- 300ml hot tea – Here you could use 250ml of tea and 50ml of good whisky or brandy but I was appealing to a wider audience leaving it out!
- 1 egg
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 level teaspoon mixed spice
- Scratch or two of nutmeg
- Put the dried fruit into a bowl and cover with hot tea. Leave to plump up overnight, although if you cant wait, a few hours will suffice.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Stir the whisked egg, soft brown sugar, flour and mixed spice into the fruit and tea mixture. Mix well.
- Put the mixture into a lined 1lb loaf tin.
- Cook in for 1 -1 1/2hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack, cut and enjoy!