Friday, 23 December 2011

A simple fruit loaf instead of Christmas fruit cake ~ you decide! And a few other seasonal treats ~

Too late or too tired to make a Christmas cake, or don't have all the ingredients?  You might like to make this loaf instead!  This recipe for Zoe's fruit loaf made with tea has been popular so I'm re-publishing it here as a suggested substitute for Christmas fruit cake.  It's so simple to make and serve: it requires very few ingredients, the simplest of methods, and needs no icing, buttering or decorating. 

In the picture below you can see it served with whipped cream and a little preserved apple (without it's juice).  I ate this plate of food after I photographed it and it was absolutely delicious! 

Here is how to make it:

Overnight soak:
1 pound of mixed fruit (500 grams) - available from your supermarket
2 cups of cold tea
1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
Then add:
2 cups of self-raising flour (If using standard flour add 2 tsp baking powder)
1 well beaten egg.
I've found that packs of mixed fruit vary in moisture content, which means that the amount of tea needed varies.  The final mixture should drop off the spoon easily, so it pays to have some additional cold tea to hand in case the mixture seems too stiff.  

Mix well and pour into a well greased (or oiled) loaf tin.  The original recipe says to bake for 2 hours in a moderate oven (300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Celcius).  I've found this to be too long and ovens vary.  I suggest you check progress after an hour and possibly leave it in for another ten or twenty minutes or so.  A well-cooked loaf is likely to be a deep golden brown and have a good firm crust. 

This loaf gets even nicer with standing so you may wish to wait until the next day to eat it, but I like mine any way it comes and the sooner the better!  It's wonderfully moist and keeps well.  It can also be frozen.

If using double the amount of fruit the mixture can easily be adapted to make three loaves. 

Other recipes which may be enjoyed at this time of year can be found in my earlier articles:

I wish you all A Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year!

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