Is it a cake? Is it a bread? Pudding. Breakfast. Snack? Who knows apart from its super bloomin good!
I have polished off my ‘feeder’ crown. I think on behalf of other food bloggers I can quietly and confidently confirm there is a little feeder within us all. This bread got shared with two close friends who live within walking distance (mainly as I didn’t trust myself alone with it) and it didn’t last very long! One of the texts did involve the quote ‘sharing the fat’!
Come into my lair said the fruit to the belly!
The day of baking I hadn’t planned to make this recipe at all, but having my lovely beef stew simmering away on the hob, the smells were so good and triggered thoughts of lovely bread….
On went the kettle, out came the dried fruit mix, enroute spotted the box of chai teabags and voila! I pretty much made it up as a I went along and to be honest I don’t think I would change a thing. It barely made it 24 hours from birth to death. And that was with some restraint.
A sweet slice of heaven:
It’s the first time I’ve properly experimented with a sweet yeasted dough, and a lot of cross fingers went on but I couldn’t ask for more. Its slightly sweet, soft, light and full of plump fruit scented with cloves and hints of sweet spice. Oh and it looks rather pretty too! The mix smelt rather festive too, a gentle reminder of the approaching festive season…
Requires love and a 23cm springform tin
450g strong white flour
50g caster sugar
200ml milk – I used soya
25g butter/ margarine
½ tsp vanilla extract
Sachet fast action yeast
300ml boiling water
100g dried fruit
25g glace cherries roughly chopped
2 tbsp unrefined sugar
1 chai teabag
Egg wash – I swear by the spray one from Lakelands! If not just use a little beaten egg
1) Cover the fruit and cherries with 300ml boiling water and add the teabag. Allow to sit for a good hour or more before doing the next bits
Gleaming like jewels:
2) Meanwhile gently warm the milk with the butter till just melted, allow to cool to just above room temperature
3) Sieve together the flour and caster sugar. Add the yeast to the milk along with a heaped spoonful of the flour mix, mix well then rest for five or so minutes
4) Stir the milky liquid gently into the flour, along with a couple of spoons of the soaking liquor to get a sticky dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes – try not to add any further flour as you want a dampish dough, just enough so it doesn’t stick entirely to the counter top! It should all be lovely, smooth and elastic. Place in a floured bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm until doubled in size.
5) Knock back the dough, smooth out into a long baguette shape and cut into around 14 or so chunks. I love my metal dough slicer! Use your fist to flatten each chunk – trust me it’s the best way and quite stress relieving – and fill roughly with a spoon of the drained fruit mix, pinch over stretching into sort of ball shaped – don’t be too precise, you want a few bits sneaking out and place in the centre of the tin and repeat until all the dough is used up in one layer – sprinkle over and press in any remaining fruit mix. Glaze with egg and sprinkle over the unrefined sugar. Allow to rest for a further 10 minutes or so whilst the oven preheats to 200o/ Gas 6.
6) Place the tin in the middle of the oven, throw half a cup of water into the bottom, close the door quickly and bake for thirty minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap the sides – don’t try to turn it upside down like you would with a loaf – it will be very hot and it’s not the kind of bread!
7) Once your beautiful beast is out of the oven, allow to stand for a couple of minutes then undo the tin clip, carefully loosen and slide onto an airing rack, cool for a good thirty minutes before brandishing your bread knife and losing your dignity as you make strange noises in earshot of your flatmate mumbling ‘oh its so good’ and realise instincts are the best thing in baking. And life.
Nb: I hold no responsibility for weight gain.
Thanks to Paul for helping me with the final name for this!
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