Sunday, 1 November 2009

A tidy recipe for fruit cake

Back to the Welsh recipes, and this is a classic: Bara Brith. However, as that basically means it's a recipe for fruit cake, I think its Welshness is a little spurious. Added to that, my recipe for it is out of a book. That's probably because I've only started eating fruit cake in the last couple of years - and I don't tend to cook things that I really don't like to eat (how can you taste test things if they're always going to taste bad to you?). But this is a very tasty, very easy recipe - and it fills the house with the smell of toffee. I should plug the book: Traditional teatime recipes by Jane Pettigrew. It's a National Trust book and it's full of recipes that make me nostalgic for things I've never eaten. Powerful stuff...

Bara Brith (900g/2lb loaf)

350g (12oz) mixed fruit
350ml (12 fl oz) tea
100g (4oz) butter
100g (4oz) light soft brown sugar
50ml (2 fl oz) milk
1 tbsp black treacle
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten

Soak the fruit in the tea overnight.
Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
Put the fruit, butter, sugar, milk and treacle in a pan (I like to use a large casserole so I can use it for all the mixing), bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (GM4).
Add the flour, mixed spice and beaten eggs to the fruit mix and beat well with a wooden spoon. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake (just below the middle of the oven) for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and to cool completely on a wire rack.