Irish Tea Bread - Unlive by Lindsey

It's always hard for me to believe that this simple little fruit loaf can taste so good. When we were testing recipes, this one disappeared the fastest – none of us could resist just one more little bit. It's good all by itself or spread with butter, and it's quite brilliant toasted. The recipe makes two loaves, so you can pop the other one in the freezer and keep it for a rainy day.

Makes 2 small loaves

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Irish Tea Bread - Unlive by Lindsey
 8 oz (225 g) raisins
 8 oz (225 g) currants
 8 oz (225 g) sultanas
 4 oz (110g) whole candied peel, cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) pieces
 8 oz (225 g) demerara sugar
 10 fl oz (275 ml) Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey or any other hot tea
 4 oz (110 g) pecan nuts
 1 large egg at room temperature, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
 1 lb (450 g) self-raising flour

You will also need two 1 lb (450 g) loaf tins (6 x 3¾ x 2¾ inches; 15 x 19.5 x 7 cm), the bases lined with silicone paper (parchment).


Begin this the evening before by placing all the fruits, including the candied peel, in a bowl, then dissolve the sugar in the hot tea, pour this over the fruits, cover the bowl and leave it overnight so the fruits become plump and juicy.

The next day, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C), then place the nuts on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 6-8 minutes (use a timer, as they burn easily). Then, when they're cool, roughly chop them. Next, add the beaten egg mixture to the bowl containing the fruits. Then sift in the flour, add the toasted nuts and give everything a really good mixing. Now divide the mixture between the prepared loaf tins and bake them in the centre of the oven for 1¼-1½ hours, until they feel springy in the centre. Then straight away, loosen them with a palette knife and turn them out on to a wire rack to cool. Then have patience – it won't be long before you can taste some.

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