Wednesday, 21 November 2018

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
pinch salt
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.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Apple and Cinnamon Buns

A very simple idea. You might have gathered I like simple and old fashioned. I am still inundated with the autumn apple crops. Try to use a firmer apple than Bramley. When I made these I doubled the recipe as I was making a contribution to afternoon tea at one of the Bridge Clubs I attend. You will need some paper cases or a lightly buttered bun tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

Makes about 15 small buns or if using muffins cases, about 9. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

4 oz softened butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 large beaten eggs
6 oz SR flour
ground cinnamon to your taste - I used a heaped teaspoonful
3 heaped tablespoonfuls grated raw apple [large grater]
a small dash of milk [I used part buttermilk]

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and cinnamon then the apple. You will need a soft dropping consistency, so use a little milk if necessary.

¾ fill your cases and bake for about 18-20 mins. Simply delicious, especially warm!!!!!

While they are lovely left plain, you could sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the tops before baking to give a little crunch., or chopped nuts.  Or mix a little icing sugar with some apple juice and green food colouring then decorate. Maybe add some chopped dried apples or slices, I also used some toasted chopped hazelnuts. So many ways…….

Note: To dry apples, slice them thinly, after coring etc. Have a bowl of lemon juice and water handy and leave them soak for ten mins or so. Pat well dry on some kitchen paper and then place on a rack, on a baking sheet, on the coolest setting on your oven. You could also sprinkle over some cinnamon.  Bake for around 4-5 hours. A great snack too!! Store in a airtight jar or similar.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Figgy Bake

Using figs in baking is pretty unusual, but this tray bake is so good, it is worth buying the dried figs to have a go! My husband loves them anyway, to snack on and calls them tea bags. You can buy the fig packs very cheaply in Lidl.

You will need a Swiss roll tin, about 12 x 8 inches, well buttered and lined, with the parchment hanging over the long edges. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C. Makes about 20-24 squares.

This tray bake has three parts.

The figgy filling:
7 oz dried figs, chopped quite finely
½ pint water
the juice and rind of a lemon

The base:
7 oz butter
11oz plain flour
3 oz caster sugar

The top:
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoonfuls baking powder
2 oz caster sugar

You must prepare the filling well beforehand and allow it to cool. I do it the night before baking in the morning. Place all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan and allow to gently simmer until thick but still soft enough to spread - about 30 mins.

In a medium bowl rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and divide this in half.

Press the first half onto the base of your prepared tin, getting it as even as possible.  Spread over the figgy mix.

For the topping, beat your eggs, bp and caster sugar into the remaining base half, until well mixed and you have a soft dropping consistency. Place little dobs carefully over the figgy mix then spread as evenly as possible without disturbing the figs,

Bake for about 40 mins and leave in the tin for a while to firm up. Lift out using the parchment hanging over and allow to go cold on a cooling rack before cutting into little squares.

Keeps well for several days and freezes well too. Yum yum. Trust me, you will love them!