an Easter loaf recipe with raisins and almonds

It’s a couple of weeks away from Easter and apart from Easter eggs and hot cross buns, I’m struggling to think of anything special that we had as children. We were not a religious family although my sister and i went to Sunday school each week so we had no particular significant observances. The celebration of a spring festival goes far back beyond the Christian celebration, and maybe the eggs we have, now chocolate (and almost every other confectionary and savoury type imaginable) are a relic of a very early ritual. I can’t remember every having a special meal – we always had  a roast lunch on Sundays, rarely chicken because in those days it was more expensive, but mum never made Simnel cake. I’m rather sorry about that, she was an amazing cook and baker, if she had made it, it would have been a champion bake!

In these days leading up to Easter, I’m going to practice some recipes, some I’ve made before with varying success, and some different ones too. It’s ages since I made anything with yeast so I definitely need to practice this one, an Easter loaf recipe with raisins and almonds:

  • ½ pint warm milk
  • 1 lb flour
  • 1 oz yeast (I presume live yeast)
  • butter, creamed
  • 2 oz sugar, plus extra for the top
  • 2 oz raisins, plus a few for the top
  • chopped almonds
  • 1 egg
  • extra beaten egg
  1. cream the yeast with 1 tsp sugar
  2. mix it with the milk and add the flour
  3. mix to a dough
  4. leave to rise for ¾ hour
  5. mix with the creamed butter, raisins, and egg beaten with the rest of the sugar
  6. let the mixture rise again then place it in a large loaf tin, so that it is only half full
  7. allow to rise until the tin is full
  8. bake in a hot oven, and when nearly cooked, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with chopped almonds, raisins and sugar
  9. return to the oven to finish baking

This recipe is ninety plus years old, dating from the early 1930’s and doesn’t give a temperature or time. This is another reason, why I need to practice! I’m guessing the temp should be 220º C/425º F/ gas mark 7 for about 35-45 minutes. There is no instruction to knead, but I’m sure it should be done!

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