Margaret’s Fruit Loaf

Peter writes:

Margaret was my mother who died in September 2003 aged 87 years.  Her end was exactly as we would all want – relatively healthy up to the last minute, independent and hopefully fairly peaceful.  She just went to bed one night and failed to get up.

She was a good cook and liked nothing better than to feed other people – she valued the notion of full cake tins and felt that all was well with the world if you had plenty of sweet things to eat.

She was particularly fond (and proud) of her fruit leaf – she used to refer to it as a bun loaf (not sure why) and she literally made these things by the dozen.  She must have made thousands,

We at la Massa feel that it is rather fitting that we often provide one of these cakes for guests as they arrive – Margaret would have been thrilled to see her favourite recipe gracing a table in Tuscany.

Here is the recipe – sorry for the units being a bit mixed up – this is how she wrote it – one of the pictures below shows the recipe in her handwriting:

Ingredients:

  • Two cups of self raising flour
  • One cup of sugar
  • two cups of dried fruit (she always used sultanas)
  • 20zs of butter (50 grams)
  • One cup of cold water
  • One egg
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade

  • In a saucepan, heat the water with the dried fruit and the butter – boil gently  for 5 minutes
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda
  • Add the water / fruit / butter mixture and stir thoroughly
  • Add a beaten egg and mix
  • Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin – I use one of those clever little liners from lakeland
  • Cook for about 75 minutes – test with a fine knife in the centre – if the blade comes out clean, it is cooked.
  • Leave to cool on a rack

Notes:

  • I (and Margaret) make these three at a time
  • They freeze well wrapped up in a plastic bag
  • Mother always served about a centimetre of butter on each slice – in these enlightened times I serve it without.
  • She never varied the fruit – I do – dried apricots, dates, walnuts – use your imagination – put in some spices.