Monday, July 30, 2012

A very British tea bread

Over the weekend I rediscovered an oldie-but-goodie recipe I'd forgotten about. Perhaps because the Olympics have our thoughts turned London-ward, I had picked up my copy of The National Trust book "Tea-time Recipes" by Jane Pettigrew. The recipe I used to enjoy years ago was called Fatless Tea Bread, a name I liked because "fatless" sounds so much better than "fat-free" for some reason!

It's really just a good fruitcake-tasting tea bread, so if you don't like that spongey-springy texture of fruitcake, this may not be your cup of you-know-what. But if you do like fruitcake and those steamed pudding textured desserts, give this a try. The liquid in the batter is cold tea, interestingly enough. Here's the recipe as I made it.

Fatless Tea Bread

1 pound mixed dried fruit (I used a mixture of raisins and currants, and I've also made it with dried cranberries and sultanas with good results)
10 ounces cold tea
10 ounces self-rising flour
5 ounces brown sugar (light or dark)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line a loaf tin. Combine all ingredients and mix until blended well. Pour into tin and bake for 2 hours (yes, 2 hours!) until a tester comes out clean. Turn onto wire rack to cool.

*You know how they say that if you coat the dried fruit with flour, it won't sink in the batter? Well, I DO coat the fruit with flour, and in this recipe it still sinks, although that doesn't affect the taste. If someone knows another trick to try, I'm willing!


  1. I will have to give this a try -- it sounds like a perfect nosh for tea!

  2. Sounds yummy - I may try it with whole wheat flour and dried cranberries. Thanks!

  3. I love all forms of fruitcake, so guessing I would like this tea bread just fine.

  4. I love fruit cake so this sound very good.

  5. Hello,
    I haven't commented on this blog before, so, I hope you don't mind my input.

    I live in England, and worked in a bakery about 20 years ago, but I still bake at home nowadays.

    Also, I have made teabread, so I hope I can help.

    What I do, is wash the fruit in cold water, not hot, it will destroy the taste.

    Shake off the excess water using a sieve, turn onto a tea towel and dry. The fruit will not completely dry, then coat with flour and shake off the excess.

    Also, try using 2oz less of both the fruit and the tea. Too much liquid can make it heavy, and the fruit seems a bit crowded in the bread.

    Hope it helps, we can but try.

    God bless.

  6. Actually, in reading this again, I've just realised it says a pound of fruit.

    That seems like way too much.

    So, instead of removing only 2oz try just 8oz to begin with.

    All this experimenting, we'll need
    white coats, bow ties and wild white hair to match soon.

    God bless.

  7. The recipe sounds delicious, Angela and I love the photos! So nice to see comments from Dora - so neat!

  8. Tea loaf is very popular in the UK. Some suggest soaking the dried fruit in the tea over night Tea loaf
    would make great Christmas gifts !

  9. I'm going to make this. It looks so good. I really love your blog!

  10. I'm going to make this. It looks so good. I really love your blog!


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