Saturday 16 June 2012

Keep calm and have Earl Grey Currant Loaf

Tea? It's a hug in a cup ~ Patrick Jane in The Mentalist

You know you're a coffee addict when you're on a first name basis with the local cafes and they can whip up "the usual" without you needing to even order.

Ahhh coffee: bringer of awakeness, elixir of life.

That magical first cup in the morning to render me human, a second steaming hot flat white at lunch to get over the 2 o'clock dip, and perhaps a cup with an afternoon biscuit.  Coffee is always a good choice.

But despite my OCD (Obsessive Coffee Disorder), a simple cup of tea also has a place in my heart.  Whereas coffee is an invigorating, life-giving brew, sometimes, when you're really stressed out, studying to all hours,  under-slept and over-worked, what you find yourself craving is not necessarily an caffeine hit but a soothing, calming, comfy cup of tea.

And hey if it's good enough for The Mentalist, it's good enough for me.

So when I was heading over to the in-laws for a cuppa a while ago, I whipped up this Earl Grey Currant Loaf in homage to the humble cup of tea.

I'm usually an English Breakfast kinda girl.  More precisely a white and one sugar girl.  But when it comes to baking with tea you can't beat the citrusy floral fragrance of Earl Grey.

This recipe is a trusty old Jo Seagar recipe.  I've made it many times and it's always a hit.  Really easy to whip up in a jiffy with ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry, this is my go to recipe when people come over for a cuppa.

There's also no butter in the recipe so it's kinda healthy!  Having said that, it is best served warm, in thick slices, slathered with butter.  Mmmm delicious butter.  But studying med sure makes one paranoid about having a healthy diet so if you wanna go healthy some lovely tart low sugar apricot jam would be lovely or use cholesterol lowering margarine.

I was worried you wouldn't be able to taste the tea flavour in the loaf.  While it is subtle, it is definitely there.  A floral smokiness from the Earl Grey that blends so well with the fruity currants.  And the orange zest boosts the citrusy bergamot.

You can of course use any tea you like: english breakfast, lady grey, or even just plain water if you have no tea in the house.  Or replace the currants with raisins or dried apricot bits.

Just use your own ingenuiTEA.

Earl Grey Currant Loaf
slightly adapted from recipe by Jo Seagar

1 cup boiling water
2-4 Earl Grey tea bags (you can really use whatever tea you like best)
1 cup dried currants
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1 egg
optional: zest of 1 orange or lemon
optional: tea leaves from 1 Earl Grey tea bag cut open 

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the tea bags and boiling water, cover with a plate and brew until very strong and dark colored (~ 4 minutes).  While the tea is still hot add the currants and brown sugar and allow it all to soak until the tea is cold (it can be left to brew can be done overnight)

2. Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Line a loaf tin with baking paper.  Remove the tea bags from your tea mixture.  Mix egg and flour (plus tea leaves and zest) into the tea mixture.  Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for one hour.

3.  Cool on a wire rack and serve warm, sliced thickly with butter.


  1. That's a keeper, thanks Nessie, a nice basic recipe. Tried it last night with Earl Grey, orange zest, currants and sultanas.

    Found myself wondering what it would taste like with no fruit but chopped crystallised ginger instead, some powdered ginger, and some ginger marmalade stirred through clotted cream as a dollop. Hmm, I feel an experiment coming on...

    By the way, it took only 40 minutes in my oven, which I guess is "fast" ie overheating.

    1. Oo Dale, I want to know how your ginger version goes :)
      Mr would LOVE it.

    2. Oooo you're a genius Dale, ginger would be amazing speshly with lemon zest - YUM! Now you got me thinking bout all sorts of different combos: earl grey and figs, walnut and dried apricots noms! Thanks heaps for the inspiration and stoked you liked the recipe!!! :)

  2. I REALLY want to try this! I haven't done much baking recently, but this is making me feel inspired!

    1. I've been easing myself baking in to baking after a bit of a hiatus too! This loaf is a great simple thing to ease back into it! Lemme know if you end up trying the ginger version!! :)

  3. Absolutely the perfect accompaniment for a cuppa. Looks delish.

    1. Thanks Lora! It's like a tea double way to get that tea fix :)

  4. Hi Nessie, stunning photos and baking as usual! Just love your blog at the moment, so many good things on it! Have marked this in my groaning folder to try:) by the way I forgot to reply to your comment on my blog - thanks for stopping by! and in case you need it, the cure for Mad Dog Bite is to "tie cord tight above wound. Suck wound and cauterize with caustic or white-hot iron at once, or cut out adjoining parts with sharp knife". Arggghh!!!!

    1. Thanks so much Jem! You are too lovely!! Omg about the Mad Dog Cure!!! They used to do that to people?? Sounds horrific!!!

  5. Looks delicious....i would love to have some:)

    1. Thanks heaps Nina!! Looking back at these pics makes me want some too! :)

  6. I love Earl Grey Tea! This looks like such a nice recipe, lovely photos too!

  7. Love Jo Seagar and love Early Grey so this is going on the list for the weekend. It reminds me of the handed-through-the-family sultana loaf my mother always used to make. Actually, she still makes it, I'm just not home any longer to enjoy it. So I shall make my own loaf for my husband and myself. Is it over the top to want to have a cup of Earl Gray with it?



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