Number 9 fruit loaf

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At Number 9, Lois’ first cafe on the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, this fruit loaf was so popular that they would bake three loaves at a time. Fruit loaves are currently so deeply unfashionable that I feel that it’s only a matter of time before they become the next baking trend at hipster coffee shops. Toasted and smeared with some Zany Zeus Greek yoghurt or cream cheese, fruit loaf has the makings of an excellent (and most importantly for some, Instagrammable) breakfast.

Number 9 Fruit Loaf (Lois Daish, A Good Year, p. 86)

450g dried fruit (currants, raisins, and sultanas; I used a mixture of golden sultanas and currants)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

250ml hot tea (Earl Grey or English Breakfast)

1 egg

2 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Put the dried fruit in a bowl with brown and white sugar, pour over the hot tea and stir. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes, but preferably several hours.

Preheat oven to 160°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. The best way to do this is to tear off a sheet of baking paper and run it under the tap while you gently scrunch it up. Shake off the excess water, smooth it out and dry it with a tea towel; the paper will now be easy to mold to the shape of the tin.

Whisk the egg and add it to the soaked fruit. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and beat into the fruit mixture. Scrape the dough into the prepared loaf tin and bake for at least one hour (mine took one hour and fifteen minutes). Use the skewer test to check if it’s done (insert a skewer at an angle into centre of the loaf and slowly remove; it should be clean with no sticky batter adhered to it).

Tips from Lois: the loaf will be easier to slice if you leave it overnight before cutting it; you can also freeze slices of loaf and defrost as needed.

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