A classic fruit loaf which everyone loves – it’ll keep well in a tin for about 5 days.
350g (12 oz) self-raising flour ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp mixed spice ¼ tsp grated nutmeg 125g (4¼ oz) butter, cubed 125g (4¼ oz) caster (superfine granulated) sugar ½ cup currants ¾ cup sultanas ½ cup chopped walnuts 6 Brazil nuts, thickly sliced Finely grated zest 1 lemon 2 size 7 (large) free-range eggs, lightly beaten 250ml (1 cup) milk, at room temperature 2 Tbsp brandy Unsalted butter, for serving (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a loaf tin 21 cm (about 8”) long by 10.5 cm (4”) wide by 6.5 cm (2-3 “) deep, or something similar, with baking (parchment) paper. (I usually make one long strip for the bottom and short ends, then a wide piece to do the long sides and bottom.)
2 Sieve flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Add butter and rub it in until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar, dried fruit and nuts and lemon zest. Mix eggs and milk together, add brandy, then pour into dry ingredients. Blend everything together with a large spoon. The mixture should be soft enough to just drop off the spoon.
3 Transfer to tin, smooth the top with a knife and bake for about 1 hour, or until a good brown on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the tin, then carefully turn out and cool on a cooling rack. Serve thickly sliced, spread with unsalted butter if liked.
If you don’t like flour under your fingertips, check out a pastry blender.
Once the loaf is cool, store in an airtight container.