I grew up with this tea bread – it’s an old family favourite and the recipe my mum uses came from her mum. The fruit is soaked in tea and left overnight and the only fat in it comes from one egg and a small amount of milk. Best of all, it improves with keeping: I remember taking a loaf with me back to University every time I had been home for a visit!
I thought a few slices would make a great snack for our holiday flight. And as the recipe makes two loaves I ended up putting a loaf in the suitcase too, should we get peckish while away. It arrived in great shape and is improving as the week goes on – unlike some wines, it’s clearly perfectly suited to travel!
I used Earl Grey tea to soak the fruit and I think there is a very faint taste of Earl Grey in the loaf. You can use any tea you like but traditionally it would be English Breakfast. I imagine chai tea would give a good taste too and will be trying that next time. The original recipe uses currants, sultanas and raisins but I used currants, sultanas and dried cranberries.
300ml strong tea
175g dried cranberries
225g soft brown sugar
450g SR flour
Put the dried fruit and sugar in a bowl and pour in the tea. Stir well and allow to soak overnight.
The next day, set the oven to 170ºC and grease and line two loaf tins.
Stir the fruit mixture to make sure the sugar has not stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
Add the egg and milk to the fruit mixture and then add the flour. Stir until it is completely mixed in but try not to over work.
Put the mixture into the tins and bake for around an hour. Check after 45 minutes as you may need to cover with aluminium foil for the end of the baking time. It is ready when a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out dry.
Allow to cool for a little while in the tin until turning out onto a wire rack.
When completely cold this is best stored wrapped tightly in aluminium foil. It will get moister and tastier over the course of a few days, leaving room in your luggage for souvenirs!