My favourite tea bread: moist, fudgy and completely moreish. It takes just minutes to put together. Wrapped in foil, it keeps for days – if you can manage not to eat it.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 150g dried stoned dates, chopped
- 75g dried ready-to-eat apricots, chopped
- 75ml apple juice
- 175g butter
- 140g soft dark-brown sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 100g plain flour
- 125g malted brown flour or wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- good pinch of mixed spice
- really generous grating of nutmeg
- 50g pecans, roughly chopped
- 1½ tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1½ tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/gas mark 4. Butter and base-line a loaf tin measuring 22 x 12 x 6cm.
- Put the dates and apricots in a pan and add the apple juice and 50ml water. Bring up to the boil then turn the heat right down and simmer gently for 15 minutes. You will have something that looks like a purée. Leave to cool.
- Melt the butter, allow it to cool, then add it to the date and apricots along with the sugar, zest and egg.
- Sift the flours into a bowl then put the bran in the sieve back into the flour. Add the baking powder, mixed spice, nutmeg, pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Make a well in the middle and add the date and egg mixture, stirring in the dry ingredients. Make sure everything is combined but don’t overwork. Scrape into the tin and sprinkle with sesame if you want.
- Bake for an hour and a quarter. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes then turn on to a wire rack, remove the paper and set the right way up. Leave to cool. Eat slices, spread with butter, for afternoon tea or morning coffee.