Quick bread containing dried fruit soaked in tea until plump and juicy. This Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Paleo recipe is made with cashew butter and honey.
Tea bread is an idiosyncratic English teatime treat, which can’t quite decide whether it wants to be a cake or a bread when it grows up. On the one hand, it is made with dried fruits that have been soaked overnight in tea to render them plump and juicy – so far so much like a fruitcake. On the other hand, tea bread is baked in the shape of a loaf, and contains no fat and very little sugar. To confuse matters further, it is usually served spread with butter, either in thick slices or toasted.
But let’s put semantics aside, reach for the teapot, and just enjoy a slice of lovely, moist tea bread with an afternoon cup of tea.
dried fruits mixture:
- 2 Earl Grey teabags
- 1 1/4 cup (300ml) just-boiled water
- 1/8 cup (34g) honey
- 1 cup (130g) raisins
- 1 cup (130g) sultanas
- 1 cup (130g) currants
- The day before, put the teabags in a large bowl and pour over the just-boiled water. Add the honey and stir to dissolve. Leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes, then give the teabags a good squeeze and remove. Add the raisins, sultanas and currants and stir well with a metal spoon. Cover, and leave overnight to allow the dried fruits to soak up the tea and plump up.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/340°F. Place a small bowl of water on the bottom shelf of the oven (this will steam the loaf, and stop the top from cracking). Lightly grease a 900g / 2lb loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
- Uncover the dried fruit mixture, and add the dry ingredients (almond flour, mixed spice and baking soda). Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, measure the wet ingredients (egg yolks, cashew butter, apple cider vinegar) and mix until blended using an electric whisk.
- Lighten the mixture by stirring in one-third of the whisked egg whites. Tip in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in using a spatula: cut down the centre with the side edge of the spatula; scrape across the bottom of the bowl and up the side, scooping up the mixture as you go so that it is turned over and under; rotate the bowl 90° and repeat until fully blended. Be careful not to overwork the mixture and knock out the air, but make sure the bitter egg white is fully blended. Tip in the dried fruit mixture and stir into the mixture using a wooden spoon.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Rest a sheet of tin foil on top of the loaf before putting it into the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, resting a tented sheet of tin foil on top after 45 minutes to prevent burning. When cooked, the loaf should have a brown crust and the centre should feel springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes, before popping out of the tin and onto a wire cooling rack. Peel off the baking paper from the bottom. Serve in thick slices, or toasted and spread with marmalade or jam.
Dried Fruit Bakes