My first taste of the fruity loaf was about 20 years ago at the Quay House, a lovely country house hotel in Clifden, County Galway. Upon arrival, I was offered a cup of tea and a slice of this classic Irish loaf made with tea-soaked fruit. Similar in flavor and texture to Scottish, Welsh and English fruit breads, this recipe includes a healthy portion of nuts and a hint of spice. It keeps well, so you can count on a week’s worth of delicious-ness.
3 cups mixed dried fruit (such as sultanas, dates, apricots, cranberries), chopped
2 tablespoons candied orange peel
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or Mixed Spice (see Note)
1 1/4 cups brewed hot Irish tea
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
Softened butter, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine fruit, peel, nuts, ginger, spice and tea. Let soak for 3 hours, or until tea is absorbed.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.
- With a wooden spoon, stir egg, sugar, and flour into fruit mixture; mix until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared pan.
- Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until top is golden and a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven; let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack, return to upright. Let cool completely before cutting into slices. Serve spread with butter, if desired.
Note: To make Mixed Spice, in a small bowl, combine, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground mace, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Stir to blend; store in a sealed jar.
Find more great recipes in my Teatime in Ireland cookbook here. Teatime in Ireland Cookbook