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Martha Collison's sticky malt loaf
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1 Assam (or breakfast) teabag
200g malt extract, plus extra to finish
2 tbsp black treacle
75g dark brown soft sugar
100g prunes, roughly chopped
150g plain flour
100g spelt flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 Waitrose British Blacktail Medium Free Range Egg
1 Place the teabag into a small pan and add 150ml of boiling water. Allow to brew for 5 minutes, then discard the bag. Add the malt extract, black treacle and sugar to the pan, and stir to combine.
2 Heat the mixture gently over a low heat until all the sugar has melted and it is starting to bubble, then remove from the heat and stir in the prunes and raisins. Allow the mixture to stand until cool – about an hour – so the fruit plumps up.
3 Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3, and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Measure the flours and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Beat the egg into the cooled malted fruit mixture, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to form a soft batter.
4 Spoon the batter into the lined tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 50-70 minutes. The top should feel firm and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out relatively clean (malt loaf has a sticky crumb so don’t worry if it feels a bit undercooked).
5 Allow the loaf to cool completely, brushing the top with a little malt extract as it does so. Wrap the cooled loaf in foil and allow to mature for 2-3 days (both the flavour and characteristic stickiness improve with age) before enjoying sliced and loaded with slabs of salted butter. Malt loaf will keep, wrapped, for up to 3 weeks.
When working with sticky substances such as malt extract and treacle, use a metal spoon and keep a mug of very hot water nearby. Warm the spoon in the water before using to spoon syrups – they should slide straight off into your mixing bowl with virtually no mess or waste. Rewarm the spoon each time.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in February 2018.