Yuletide Fruit Bread
This very, very old recipe was apparently a forerunner of our traditional Christmas Cake. While it is called a bread, it is far more cake like, than bread. You will note is has a very high butter content, making it rich and moist and so therefore keeps very well - for 2-3 weeks. That is if you can keep your hands off it!! Just wonderful. Try it spread with Cornish butter, although I have left it unbuttered to show you what it is like. It is quite delicious as it comes too! Oh my! Perfect for Christmas tea time if you don’t like rich fruit cake. The dough is fairly soft and it is far easier to knead in a food mixer with a dough hook.
I will give you the quantity for a medium/ large ish size loaf. I used a large box shaped bread tin.
Butter your loaf tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C
12 oz strong white flour
6 oz softened butter
1½ teaspoonful of quick dried yeast
scant 6 fl oz warm water
1 medium beaten egg
5 oz caster sugar
9 oz currants
4 oz sultanas
2 oz mixed peel, finely chopped
½ teaspoonful each of cinnamon and nutmeg
In a medium bowl [or the bowl of your mixer] rub the butter into the flour, add the spices, salt, 1 heaped teaspoon of the sugar and the dried quick yeast. Whisk the egg into the warm water and add to the flour mix. Bring together and knead until you have a smooth dough [8 - 10 mins] . This is a fairly wet dough, so try not to add too much flour, if you are kneading by hand. Place in a warm spot for about an hour until it is almost double in size.
Leaving the dough in the bowl, knock it back and then work in the sugar and fruit until nice and evenly distributed. When mixed turn it out onto a floured surface and continue to knead for a few minutes. Place in your prepared tin and set in your warm spot. The loaf will need a further 1 hour proving. Maybe a tad more.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 70-75 mins. I covered the top with foil after 45 mins. Cool on a rack then store in an airtight tin. Will freeze perfectly.
Just delicious. Leave for a day before cutting, if possible!! Is it called Yultide because the ingredients would have been out of the reach of most people, so was only made for a special occasion?
Note: I love Doves Farm Quick dried yeast. So good, so easy! I also think you could substitute half the flour for wholemeal, if you wish, but I have not tried it.