I love a really good cup of tea, because actually, sitting down in the afternoon with a cup and 5 minutes to yourself can be heaven. I have earl grey just every now and again (mix it up, I know - totally wild) and so I was quite interested to try this earl grey tea bread recipe out. Origin of recipe: Mum. Naturally.
Practical points are 1) it's really easy, 2) it's dairy free and 3) it freezes really well too.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
QUANTITY: Makes 1 loaf (about 1lb)
12 oz (350g) mixed fruits - I use sultanas and raisins but you can add cherries, currants etc.
9oz (250g) light muscovado sugar
10oz (300g) self-raising flour
10 fl oz (300ml) hot earl grey tea
Zest of 1 lemon
1 beaten egg
Pre-heat the oven to (150C / 300F / Gas Mark 2) and adjust accordingly for fan ovens. Grease and line a standard size (1lb) loaf tin with non-stick greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the fruits and the sugar and give them a good stir. Then pour over the hot tea and mix again. Cover with a tea towel or similar, and leave in a relatively cool place for about 12 hours. It's best to do this in the evening and then bake in the morning. Soaking the fruits makes them really plump and juicy.
In the morning, add the flour, lemon zest and beaten egg to the mixture and stir really well until it's all properly mixed together. Then spoon the mixture into the tin and pop it into the pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When it's ready, give it about 15 minutes to cool in the tin and then turn out. This is best served hot with cold salted butter. So, technically it is dairy free but the serving requires some kind of spread - whether that is butter or soya margarine.
Lastly, I would hate to give the impression that I never make any mistakes or screw things up. It happens all the time. I have made this tea bread recipe and forgotten the sugar before, luckily, somehow, it still tasted good (better with sugar though definitely). I've also forgotten to adjust the cooking temperature for the fan oven, so it ended up completely overdone. And that was just mistakes on this recipe.
Anyway, if you like your afternoon tea, I would recommend this as a little English accompaniment!
I might try out a spiced version of this using Chai tea, and adding some cinnamon instead of lemon. If anyone has tried this before, please let me know how it turned out.
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