Treat for teatime
This firm fruity loaf is an ideal mid-afternoon indulgence, together with a cup of tea
Speckled bread Makes 10 slices
300ml boiling water 2 teabags 500g mixed dried fruit 2 rounded tbsp light muscovado sugar 4 tbsp fine-cut orange marmalade 2 rounded tsp mixed spice 250g white self-raising flour 200g wholemeal self-raising flour butter, to serve Pour the boiling water over the teabags and leave to infuse for at least 5 mins. Pour the tea into a large mixing bowl. Add the fruit, stir well and leave overnight for the fruit to plump up and absorb the tea. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 900g loaf tin and put a strip of baking paper along the base so that it comes up over the ends. Using a wooden spoon, beat the sugar, 2 tbsp of the marmalade and the spice into the soaked fruit. Mix in the flours to make a firm, sticky dough. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry. Spoon into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1¼ hrs until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much, cover loosely with baking paper or foil. Take the loaf out of the oven and spread the remaining 2 tbsp of marmalade over the top so that it melts to make a sticky glaze. Leave to cool in the tin. To serve, cut into generous slices and spread with butter. The loaf will keep well for a week if wrapped in greaseproof paper or cling film and foil.
Replace some of the mixed dried fruit with dried cranberries, dried black cherries or dried blueberries. Instead of marmalade, use apricot jam or glaze the top with honey.
Cook it Slowly! Dairy Cookbook £8.75, available from www.dairydiary.co.uk