The Simple Things - - LIVING -

Mild beer, tea and dried fruit com­bine in this rich malt loaf, redo­lent with child­hood mem­o­ries. Try it toasted or sim­ply sliced but, ei­ther way, don’t stint on the but­ter.

MAG­NIF­I­CENT MALT LOAF Makes a 900g (2lb) loaf

75ml strong, cold black tea 75ml mild beer such as Moor­house’s Black Cat or Rudgate Ruby Mild*, plus 25ml to fin­ish 150g raisins 150g dried prunes, chopped into raisin-sized chunks Un­salted but­ter, for greas­ing 175g malt ex­tract, plus 4 tbsp ex­tra for fin­ish­ing 85g dark mus­co­v­ado sugar (must be mus­co­v­ado, ac­cept no sub­sti­tutes) 2 large eggs, beaten 100g whole­meal flour 150g plain or spelt flour 1 tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda 2½ tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 In a saucepan, gen­tly heat the tea and beer un­til bub­bles just start to break the sur­face. Add the dried fruit, re­move the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 15 mins.

2 Pre­heat oven to 150C/Fan 130C/Gas 2, mak­ing sure the shelf is in the mid­dle. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with an over­sized piece of lightly damp­ened and scrunched bak­ing parch­ment.

3 Stir the malt ex­tract and sugar into the beer and fruit mix­ture un­til the sugar is fully dis­solved. Still stir­ring, add the beaten eggs.

4 In a sep­a­rate bowl, mix to­gether the flours, bi­car­bon­ate of soda and bak­ing pow­der. Add the liq­uid in­gre­di­ents to the dry in­gre­di­ents, stir­ring vig­or­ously un­til well blended, then leave to stand for 15 mins.

5 Pour the mix­ture into the pre­pared loaf pan and bake on the mid­dle shelf of the oven for 50 mins, or un­til a skewer in­serted in the mid­dle comes out clean. The loaf is likely to look a bit col­lapsed but don’t worry, it’s part of the char­ac­ter.

6 Re­move from the oven and leave to cool for 10 mins in its pan on a wire cool­ing rack.

7 While the cake is still cool­ing, warm the fin­ish­ing malt ex­tract and ex­tra 25ml beer to­gether in a saucepan over a low heat. Don’t al­low it to boil. Re­move from the heat. Poke holes into your loaf with a skewer and brush the cake lib­er­ally with the malt and beer mix, al­low­ing each ap­pli­ca­tion to seep into the holes. Leave to cool.

8 Lift the cake out of the tin, still in its bak­ing parch­ment. Wrap it in more bak­ing parch­ment and then tightly in cling film. If you can man­age it, leave in a cool, dark place for at least three days be­fore en­joy­ing. Recipe from The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole (Hardie Grant). Pho­tog­ra­phy: Pa­tri­cia Niven

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