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
zest of 1 orange or lemon (optional)
1. In a bowl, add the tea bags, boiling water, tea bags, cover with a plate and brew until very strong and dark colored (~ 2 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 (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.