One of my colleagues recently remarked that I must spend a fortune on ingredients with all the baking I do. This is true, but since I regard it as my hobby I don't really mind - there are worse things to spend my money on and generally quite enjoy baking. And although blog activity doesn't really reflect this, I have been doing quite a lot of baking recently. Anyway, my lovely colleague gave me some ingredients that she thought I might be able/like to use. (I can't quite tell if it was motivated by the desire to eat these ingredients in cake form, but even if it was, I don't mind in the slightest - any gift is welcome!!!)
One of these ingredients was a bag of mixed dried fruit that needed to be used quite quickly. I have to admit that I don't usually buy mixed dried fruit bags. One of the reasons is the inclusion of the hideous chopped mixed peel that you usually find (candied peel that you chop yourself is a whole different matter, and quite delicious) but luckily this mix didn't include that. And before you ask, yes, I probably would have sat and picked it all out if there had been peel in there! This one was sold as 'American Style Fruit Mix'. I'm not quite sure what that means but perhaps somebody kind from over the pond will tell me whether or not a mix of chopped dates, raisins, sultanas and sweetened dried apple with cinnamon is a typical mix? Anyway, that's what this one contained.
Edited to add: It's this fruit mix here
, I think my colleague must shop in Morrisons!
The mixture seemed to lend itself well to a tea bread and instead of the ones I have made here before
, I decided to go with a tried and trusted favourite, one that J has been making for years. It was originally clipped out of the Guardian many, many years ago (and is by Katie Stewart in its original form) and has now been much modified and well used and loved. So here is the latest incarnation.
Cinnamon and apple tea bread
250g 'American Style Fruit Mix'
(or 75g chopped dates, 62g raisins, 62g sultanas, 50g dried apple, chopped)
200g glace cherries, chopped
425ml cold tea (although I used hot tea, couldn't find time to wait for it to cool!)
300g light muscovado sugar *** see note below
2 eggs, beaten
420g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon (or more if your dried fruit mix doesn't already contain cinnamon)
- Make up tea (I used two tea bags and squidged them about a bit - you want strong tea here). Add the sugar and dried fruit, mix, cover with cling film and leave overnight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C and grease and line two 2lb/900g loaf tins.
- Add the glace cherries (though you could do this the night before if it's easier) and mix well to mix the cherries through and redistribute the sugar, which tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl overnight.
- Add the flour and beaten eggs and beat well to combine.
- Divide between two tins and bake for 55 minutes. A wooden cocktail stick inserted should come out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
*** I realised as I was typing this up that I had decided when soaking the fruit that I would make the original quantity of mix (2/3 of the quantity stated) but then changed my mind and went for J's option of 1.5x mix quantity. I forgot to increase the sugar though. This is why it's never a good idea to write down recipes with 1.5x at the top and not amend the amounts, or decide half way through to amend the recipe without thinking the whole thing through. D'oh. Last time J made this she forgot to increase the flour and realised just after pouring the mix into the prepared tins that this was the reason it was so runny. She salvaged it fine, but I didn't realise until far too late about the sugar!
Great served buttered (see above!!!) but good all on its own. This type of (virtually, if you're being fussy about egg yolks and flour containing some fat) fat free tea bread always goes down well round these parts and this one is no exception. Lovely and moist and perfect at morning tea break. I have to admit that I couldn't really taste the dates as an individual flavour and wouldn't have known the dried apple pieces were there unless you'd told me. Nevertheless, the cinnamon flavour was great and made a bit of a change from my normal flavours in this recipe.