Thursday, August 7, 2008

Apricot Tea Loaf

Dried apricots give this afternoon tea bread a moist texture and a sweet, fruity taste. Recipe makes 1 loaf.


4 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dried apricots
2 tablespoons orange juice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 1 pound (500 g) loaf tin. Line the base and sides with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the butter, sugar and orange rind into a large mixing bowl. Beat together with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder. Finely chop the dried apricots and stir into the flour mixture. Fold into the creamed mixture with a metal spoon. Stir in the orange juice. Ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a tablespoon. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a warm skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. The loaf can be eaten warm or cold. Slice and serve plain or buttered.

Tip: This loaf can be made with any dried fruit. Use your favorite fruit or try a mixture of flavors. Peaches, pears, figs and stoned dates all work well, but make sure you chop them finely.

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