Fruit bread

Fruit bread


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Wrapped in foil and tied with Christmas ribbon, this loaf makes an ideal gift during the Advent and Christmas season.

Lynn Lewis and Joachim Wahnschaffe

Serves: 8 

  • 200 g (2 2/3 cups) dried pears
  • 125 g (2/3 cup) dried figs
  • 60 g (⅓ cup) fresh dates
  • 250 g (1¾ cups) hazelnuts
  • 60 g (⅓ cup) glace orange peel
  • 60 g (⅓ cup) glace lemon peel
  • 60 g (⅓ cup) glace citron
  • 60 g (½ cup) sultanas
  • 6 tablespoons pear brandy
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ¼ teaspoon aniseed
  • 100 g (2/3 cup) rye flour
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) plain wholemeal flour
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 10 g dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 30 g (¼ cup) blanched almonds, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons milk, for glazing

Preparation:8hours  ›  Cook:1hour  ›  Ready in:9hours 

  1. Place the dried pears and figs in a pan and cover with water. Cover the pan and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Next day, boil the fruit for 20 minutes; drain. Cut the dried fruit into medium-sized pieces. Discard the date seeds and cut the dates into strips lengthwise. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts; finely chop the candied peel.
  3. Mix all the fruit in a bowl with the sultanas, pear brandy, cinnamon, mixed spice, ground coriander, fennel seeds and aniseed. Cover and set aside.
  4. Mix the flours in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Heat the milk to just lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast over 2 tablespoons of the milk; leave for 5 minutes to dissolve, stirring once.
  5. Pour the dissolved yeast into the well in the flours; cover with a little flour. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  6. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the melted butter, remaining milk and lemon juice to the flour mixture. Knead to a smooth dough; it should not be sticky. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for around 1½ hours, until doubled in size.
  7. Knead the fruit mixture into the dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a loaf. Let the loaf rise for another 30 minutes.
  8. Grease a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  9. Decorate the loaf with blanched almonds and brush the top with a little of the extra milk. Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 1 hour, brushing with milk several times during baking. The loaf will be deeply brown and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

Top Tip

This loaf tastes best if the flavours mature for a while. Wrap it in foil after cooling and store for 1 week before slicing and serving.

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