Fruit loaf

There's nothing as scrumptious as home-made fruit loaf. Sofia love's this recipe − not only for its outstanding taste but also because she finds the hands-on method very therapeutic. It takes a while to make but once you've tasted it, Sofia is willing to wager this recipe will become one of your family favourites too!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 100 g (3½ oz) sultanas, chopped
  • 100 g (3½ oz) dried apricots, chopped
  • 100 g (3½ oz) dried figs, chopped
  • 100 g (3½ oz) dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) full-fat milk
  • 7 g dry yeast (one sachet)
  • 500 g (17½ oz) strong bread flour
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster sugar
  • 10 g (1/3 oz) or 2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125 g (4 oz) flaked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • Zest of 2 large lemons, grated
  • Zest of 2 large oranges, grated
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1 egg, whisked for wash
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 loaf tins (optional – I like to shape mine into oval blobs and bake them free-style)

Method

  • Soak all of the dried fruit in the rum (you may need a little more rum – add at your discretion!)
  • Add the butter to the milk and warm until the butter melts (heat to a maximum of 60°C − any hotter will kill the yeast)
  • In a large bowl, mix the yeast, flour, sugar and salt together
  • Blend in the milk and then the beaten eggs (you can do this by hand, by taking out the mxture and kneading on a flour-free bench for 10–15 minutes. Alternatively, use an electric mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough for 5 minutes, and finish it by hand for a few minutes — the best of both worlds!)
  • Rest in the mixing bowl, in a warm place, for about 40 minutes to an hour or until the dough doubles in size
  • Sprinkle the almonds on a baking tray and toast in a preheated oven at 200°C until they are golden brown
  • Set aside the almonds to cool
  • In a large bowl, mix in the rum soaked fruit and nuts, including the citrus zest
  • Knead the mixture into the dough for 1 minute until all the fruit is evenly distributed
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces and mould each piece into a rough ball
  • Place each ball onto a tray lined with baking paper
  • Place a tea towel over the top and rest the dough again for 30 minutes
  • Whisk the egg wash with the pinch of salt and brush across the top of the two loaves
  • Cut a deep incision (at least 2 cm deep) lengthways down the middle of each loaf
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)
  • Bake the two loaves for 30 minutes or until they're dark golden on top and sound hollow when tapped.

Sofia's tips

  • Serve hot and spread lavishly with real butter!
  • If you can't eat it all, freeze the second loaf for later use.

Recipe and image source

Recipe: Emma Dean − Everyday Gourmet TV
Image: Sofia Moutzouris