I popped a cheeky Soreen fruity malt loaf into my shopping bag recently and I suddenly wondered why on earth I’d never attempted to make it myself? I think once upon a time I managed to eat a whole loaf in one afternoon; such is my love for the sticky, malty squidgy brick, wrapped in bright yellow. But I thought the home-made version had to be superior. Although the result is somewhat different to the bought version, being ever so slightly more cakey in texture, I have to say this sticky malty fruit loaf is pretty damn good, especially smothered in cool butter… So, sorry Soreen, your time has come.
Malt extract (surely the most important ingredient in this recipe!) was given to my sisters and I like medicine when we were little, a spoonful each. In my mind we lined up like the Von-Trapps but I’m not sure it was quite like that. I’ve always believed, since, that it has some magical (or medicinal at least) qualities. Turns out it’s one of those ‘good as part of a balanced diet’ items, so perhaps not so medicinal after all. But the magic part I will keep. For those of you with a sweet tooth, try eating a spoon of malt extract and then resisting another, it’s sweet squidgy comforting goo at its very best.
Malt extract isn’t actually that easy to find in the shops but I managed to get some eventually in a health food shop.
200 ml tea (I used English Breakfast)
300g mixed dried fruits (currants, raisins, chopped figs work really well – I might try some prunes one day)
175g malt extract, plus a tablespoonful
85g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pour the warm tea over the fruit and add a generous spoonful of malt extract. Stir to combine and leave for at least 3 hours or overnight to soak.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Once the fruit has had ample time to plump up, add the 175g malt extract and the sugar and mix well.
Beat the eggs and add to the mix, then stir in the flour, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda.
Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake at 150 degrees for an hour and a half.
This gets even better over a couple of day so it’s best if you can be a bit patient! Wrapping it in cling film makes it stickier… yum.
NB: This recipe is adapted from the BBC good food version. First one just wasn’t sticky enough so I gave it a tweak.