Yorkshire Tea, Tea Cosies and
Yorkshire Tea Fruit Loaf for Afternoon Tea
We were invited out for lunch yesterday and had a great time ~ we sat on our friend’s terrace and sipped our aperitifs whilst he finished cooking the meal……the sun was out and there were swallows wheeling and performing amazing aerial acrobatics above his garden, getting ready for their long journey back home for the winter. The lunch was long and all the vegetables were home-grown, it was all tasty and delightful. We were sent home with an armful of veggies and I am plotting what to cook with them already…….two large marrows, tomatoes, courgettes, beetroot, spinach and baby carrots ~ a veritable vegetable treasure trove.
It was nearly 6 o’clock by the time we got home and we didn’t feel like much to eat for our tea; I’d started off a tea loaf the night before (soaking the dried fruit in tea), a wonderful loaf studded with dried fruits and cherries, and lightly spiced ~ we ate a couple of slices (buttered) with a mug of Yorkshire tea ~ my favourite tea…….a perfect ending to a perfect day.
I made a pot of tea and used my late mother-in-law’s hand-knitted tea cosy ~ I have a thing about knitted tea cosies, and she used to knit me lots, all in different colours and different types of wool……she died four years ago now, but I love using the tea cosies as they remind me of her, sitting in her chair clickety clicking with her knitting needles…….I used to make the pompoms for the top of the cosies, you know with two bits of card and the hole in the middle……
Yorkshire Tea is a black tea blend produced by Taylors of Harrogate, one of the few remaining family tea and coffee merchants in the UK. The company was founded in 1886 by Yorkshire tea merchant Charles Taylor. Needless to say I drink Yorkshire tea at home in France, I bring boxes and boxes of it back from the UK when I travel there. The Yorkshire Tea Loaf was produced by Taylors as a way of using their Yorkshire tea to expand their range. It involves using the choicest fruits which are infused overnight with the tea. This is my take on their famous tea loaf; moist tea infused fruits really make this loaf something special and it is sublime when served with a traditional English cuppa. Serve this tea loaf in thick slices just as it is – although you could also serve it with butter or with a slab of Wensleydale cheese for that authentic Yorkshire experience.
This loaf is simplicity itself, and all you have to remember is to soak the fruit the night before you want to make it; it is very moist and it keeps well ~ it’s also wonderful when toasted after a few days. It’s a real comfort bake, a warm cosy tea loaf with an impeccable heritage in British tea-time baking ~ tea has often been used to soak fruit for all manner of cakes and quick breads ~ it plumps the fruit up and makes the cake moist and fragrant with a subtle tea flavour.
If you want to soak the fruit in another type of tea, I can recommend Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong……although I am quite happy with my Yorkshire tea for everyday tea loaf purposes! Anyway, here it is in all its plump fruit and spicy glory ~ see you tomorrow when I MUST get preserving in the kitchen, or the Jam Factory as my husband calls it!
Yorkshire Tea Loaf with Mixed Spice, Cherries and Raisins
- 200g raisins
- 75g currants
- 75g glacé cherries
- 425ml freshly made Yorkshire tea or 425 ml tea, of your choice
- 75g soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 270g self raising flour
- Weigh out the currants and raisins and place into a large bowl. Pour on the hot tea; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to steep for 12 hours or overnight.
- The next day, the fruit will be very plump and juicy looking. Some tea will still remain in the bowl which is fine.
- Grease a 2 lb. loaf tin and preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F.
- Cut the cherries into halves or thirds, depending on size, and add to the soaked raisins along with the sugar and spice. Stir until mostly dissolved.
- Add the eggs and mix well until evenly combined.
- Scatter the flour over the surface of the mixture. Using a wooden spoon, start at the centre of the bowl and beat the flour into the mixture, working your way out towards the edge until everything is well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean (it may still be sticky if you hit a raisin).
- Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.