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Here's a neat little recipe that fits the bill perfectly when you're looking for something unfussy, full of flavour, packed full of delicious goodies and that hits the festive spot. I adore malted tea bread - packed full of juicy tea soaked fruit - it somehow feels slightly nostalgic and old school in this world of cupcake fanciness and layer cake frills.

You'll need to plan a few days ahead for this recipe but the method is about as quick and easy as it gets - there's no long whisking, mixing and folding involved here. You simply need to give raisins and sultanas a good overnight soaking in delicious sweetened spiced tea and then it's simply a case of a quickly mixing with the other ingredients the next day. This is easy baking at its very best. And what's more this recipe makes two loaves - one to eat and one to give away perhaps?

This recipe is also a perfect way to use up small amounts of dried fruit that might be kicking around in your cupboards after all that festive baking. I have suggested using sultanas and raisins but you could just as easily use soft dates, figs, apricots or dried cranberries. Malt extract is usually available in health food stores and some larger supermarkets. You could substitute honey, agave syrup or even treacle if you prefer - however there's something rather distinct about the flavour of malt extract that makes it worth seeking out.

Once the loaves are baked I suggest that you leave them for 24 hours before eating - if you can bear the wait. Trust me, this is time well spent. The loaves become squidgy, moist and the flavours more rounded after a day or so of being wrapped in foil and left in peace. Once the loaves have matured and are ready to eat, cut into slices, slather with good quality, slightly salted butter and enjoy with your favourite cup of tea.

Ingredients (To Make Two Loafs)

Qty Ingredients
2 Rounded Teaspoons Twinings Christmas Tea
125g Sultanas
125g Raisins
200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
75g  Unsalted Butter
300g  Self Raising Flour
A Pinch  Salt
2 Medium  Eggs
2 Tbsp Malt Extract
2 x 1lb (450g) Loaf Tins


  1. Pour 300 ml freshly boiled water into a jug, add the Christmas Tea, stir well and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Tip the sultanas and raisins into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and strain the infused tea into the bowl. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and leave for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight, for the dried fruit to absorb some of the tea and to become really plump and juicy.
  2. The next day butter the loaf tins and line the base and ends with a strip of baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180c (350f) Gas mark 4.
  3. Melt the butter either in the microwave or in a small pan over a low heat. Tip the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the melted butter, eggs and malt extract and whisk gently to break the eggs up. Add the dried fruit and tea mixture and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until the loaves are nicely browned, well risen and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaves.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the loaves to rest in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then carefully turn the loaves out of the tins and leave on the wire rack until completely cold.
  6. As the malt loaves are best eaten 24 hours after making I suggest that you wrap the cold loaves in cling film and put them out of sight to prevent temptation…..
  7. The next day slice the loaves, spread with slightly salted butter and enjoy with a mug of tea. Perfect for elevenses or as a tea time treat. 

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