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Ale fruit loaf

Serves 8

Preparation time: overnight soaking, plus 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

This is a very simple recipe, but so tasty. Our kitchen is next to the Young’s Brewery, known for a special ale with roasted cocoa beans. It’s the perfect partner for this recipe, but any good local ale will work too.

Ingredients
390g (13½oz) mixed dried fruit
250ml strong beer or ale
unsalted butter, for greasing
100g (3½oz) soft dark brown sugar
85g (3oz) self-raising flour
100g (3½oz) wholemeal self-raising flour
3 tsp ground mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten

Method

  • Put the dried fruit into a large pan and cover with the bottled beer. Gently heat the fruit until the beer is hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and leave overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook the loaf, preheat the oven to 140ºC (fan 120ºC)/275ºF/
    gas mark 1) and grease a 25 x 11cm (10 x 4 in) loaf tin with butter.
  • Add the sugar, flours, mixed spice and eggs to the fruit mixture. Stir well until combined.
    Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour until
    risen, pale brown and firm to the touch. Cover with a tea towel and leave on a wire rack to cool, still in its tin.
  • When the loaf has completely cooled, remove from the tin and wrap the loaf tightly in cling film. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to six weeks. This loaf is delicious toasted and buttered with raspberry jam or served with a piece of Wensleydale cheese.