This so called loaf is basically a cake. It's pretty quick since all the ingredients get thrown into a saucepan before being baked. Chock full of dried fruit, it's very moist, rich and rather sweet. As you can see, mine looked like it was rather dense, but it didn't taste heavy, possibly due to all the fruit.
You could use any dried fruit - I used a mixture of apricots, sultanas and dried apple. I didn't have any mixed spice either, so used a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
I took some to work, and popped them into the sandwich press before spreading the slices with butter. It smelt SO GOOD and was a great morning tea snack, particularly with a strong cup of tea. I thought the loaf was a touch too sweet, but spreading on loads of butter helped!
Blacksmith's Tea Loaf
From Linda Collister's Quick Breads
Makes 1 medium loaf
300ml strong black tea
115g unsalted butter
350g mixed dried fruit
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
100g light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
225g spelt flour or plain wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 450g loaf tin.
Put the tea in a non-reactive saucepan that is large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the butter, fruit, spice, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Add the flour and baking powder to the pan and mix briefly, then stir in the eggs. When thoroughly mixed, scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
Bake for about 40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool, then turn out and remove the lining paper. Cute into thick slices to serve.
Best eaten within 4 days. Can be frozen for up to one month.