Sunday baking to: (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66

Whisky, maple syrup and oolong tea bread

On a grey and gloomy (not to mention unseasonably cold) Sunday I decided to make this the day of music and baking. Re-visiting Henry Mancini, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald on my iTunes/Spotify lists I plumped for Nat King Cole, an old favourite who always reminds me of my dad, a man with a gentle yet sonororus voice who instilled in me a love of Nat’s music at an age when most little girls were dancing to Madonna’s Material Girl. Bring on Nat King Cole – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 the perfect music for Sunday baking…

Since I had some odds and ends, including raisins, sultanas, cherries and dates and a miserly amount of maple syrup lurking in my kitchen cupboard, it seemed obvious to make tea bread with the fruit and throw the maple syrup in, damn (part) Yankee that  I am. Perhaps it was the music, or perhaps because dad was on his way to the States but I was clearly feeling the Yankee love.

Then I rummaged through my rather sad-looking liquor collection and found a few dribs of Famous Grouse to add to this maple fruit medley. Whisky and maple syrup, two of god’s great creations, seemed a shame not to marry them. The Leiths Baking Bible was instructing me to soak the fruit in tea. Logical enough I suppose. Off I went to find tea, which turned into a 15-minute exercise in tidying up our sizeable tea collection. Oi vey…exasperated by this impromptu tea-clean, I thought why not use this nice-looking Lahloo Amber Oolong? It’s complex, slightly smokey but not so heavy on the tannins, thus making it a good prospect for soaking the now whisky-maple-fruit mixture in* now I had to find flour and eggs and I was on my way, hurrah! I schlepped my MacBook and speakers into the kitchen and let spotify do its thing while I assembled all the constituent ingredients.

Except being the donuthead that I am I chose a recipe that requires the fruit to be soaked for A VERY LONG TIME. Longer than I had, even on a Sunday afternoon.

So what was meant to be a relaxing Sunday of baking turned into a Sunday of preparing to bake and I finished off assembling the tea bread this morning. Tastes marvelous, even if I do say so myself :-)

Whisky, maple syrup and oolong tea bread:

Start soaking the fruit 4-5 hours, or overnight before baking:

150g sultanas

100g chopped dates

50 dried cherries (sour if you can find them)

250ml oolong tea

30ml (2 tbsp) whisky

30ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup

Soak the dried fruit in oolong tea, whisky and maple syrup

Then add:

150g light brown sugar (you can drop this to 125-100g if you don’t like your tea bread too sweet)

1 whisked egg

30g melted butter (not strictly kosher with the low-fat brigade but who cares)

190g refined spelt flour

60g wholemeal spelt flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

1/4 grated whole nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

Stir til evenly combined.

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Line a large 12.5cm x 20 cm loaf tin or two smaller loaf tins with parchment paper and fill with the tea bread mixture:

Ready to bake baby!

Bake 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours depending on how temperamental your oven is. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean your tea bread is ready:

Freshly baked tea bread cooling on the windowsill

Time for tea

Eat with a small pat of butter or on its own. This will keep for a few days at least, but I’d be surprised if it lasts that long…

* if you’re interested in oolong, have a look at this feature on tea I penned a while back.

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9 Responses to Sunday baking to: (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66

  1. Cor – sounds good, Sig! And I’m not even that fond of oolong… I love tea breads, and am constantly playing with recipes, but have yet to add maple to a mix. Thanks for the nudge to do so.

  2. A great way to use up all those leftover bits and pieces lurking in the back of the cupboards! There’s something so comforting and homely about tea bread (especially one as luxurious as this!).

    • Totally agree GG, this is quite a decadent tea bread but given that there were ingredients to be used up (all in the spirit of a spring clean!) then it feels like a good use of resources!

  3. Elisavet says:

    That looks amazing, nothing beats freshly home-baked breads and cakes… I can smell it all the way here!

  4. Katie says:

    There’s nothing as satisfying as baking cakes on a miserable day accompanied by warm music – good work!

    I’m glad there’s someone else out there who starts cooking without really paying attention to the prep involved on a recipe. This happened to me when I made Delia’s rhubarb brulee – there was a lot of waiting and chilling between stages that I’d not factored in and my disappointed family had to wait until the following day to eat it! I wasn’t popular!

  5. goodshoeday says:

    I love tea bread. My grandma used to make a simpler version than yours here but I’ll bet this version is great. When I was at uni she used to send me back to college with one loaf and send another part way through the term. It lasts really well if you eek it out as I did then but its so hard not to want to eat it all at once!

  6. winesleuth says:

    Just last week I went to a tea appreciation class and the Tea Master had made green tea madaleines for us. They were tasty but I think somehow I would like your whiskey soaked fruit oolong tea bread better. ;-)

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