Prune Tea Loaf

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It’s no secret that I have a mini obsession with Volkswagen campervans (I still don’t have one by the way…)  and while I will probably never see one sat in our driveway I do have The Campervan Cookbook by Martin Dorey to flick through every so often for some recipe inspiration while we are away camping in our caravan that’s not a campervan (I’m not bitter!)

One recipe that my husband LOVES is the Prune and Sultana Earl Grey Tea Loaf (which I have adapted slightly), he often works away for a week at a time so I bake this late on a Sunday evening and once it is wrapped up properly it lasts for a few days (around three days is the record before it’s all eaten, after that I’m not sure…) It’s a great baking stash buster too, I often chop and change the ingredients depending on what I have in the store cupboard but as long as I have around 300-400g fruit it works fine. Another thing I’m using at the moment is raspberry flavoured tea bags. I bought these when I was pregnant when people kept telling me to drink it “get things moving along” except when I made it the smell made me feel a bit nauseous so I never drank any! I’m told it flavours the tea loaf nicely (I’m sorry, I don’t like fruit cakes/loaves…) but ordinary tea is perfectly good to use too. Try to leave the fruit to soak overnight, but a few hours is fine.

Ingredients:

300ml strong tea (approx mug full)

100g ready to eat prunes (roughly chopped)

50g ready to eat apricots (roughly chopped)

50g glace cherries (halved)

100g sultanas

50g raisins

50g chopped hazelnuts

100g soft light brown sugar

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 tbsp runny honey

225g self raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

Method

Boil the kettle and make the tea first. Give it a stir then leave the tea bag in the mug while you weigh the other ingredients.

Weigh out the dried fruit – prunes, apricots, cherries, sultanas & raisins or whatever fruit you are using. I like to roughly chop the prunes, apricots and glace cherries in quarters or half just to make them “go further” but you can leave them whole if you prefer.

Place the dried fruits and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

Remove the teabag from the mug (sorry, I know it’s probably obvious) and pour the tea over the fruit. Give the fruit a gentle stir at this stage, I like to do this to make sure the sugar gets dissolved. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a few hours (or overnight) to soak.

When you are ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 170c and prepare your loaf tin. I cheat and use loaf tin liners, they are so handy but you can just grease the tin if you wish.

Place all the remaining ingredients (egg, honey, flour, mixed spice) into the bowl with the fruit and mix until it is all combined. Don’t worry if the mixture looks very wet, it’s supposed to and the result will be a lovely moist cake.

Carefully pour into your loaf tin.

Bake for one hour.

Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Himself says the cake should be eaten with lashings of butter but sure while you’re at it you might as well put the kettle on and have a cup of tea as well. Enjoy!

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