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Apple and Carrot Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Over the weekend I helped my daughter bake a tea loaf called Bara Brith - neither of us had come across this unusual sounding loaf made with tea and absolutely LOADED with sugar and dried fruit. Needless to say, it went down a storm and apparently we are baking another one this weekend! It got me thinking how I could make a slightly healthier version

Apple and Carrot Earl Grey Tea Loaf
- a fraction of the dried fruit
- stripping out all the refined sugar
- adding masses of grated carrot and apple

The children loved this as much as the high sugar version - hurrah! I also added some chopped walnuts for a bit of texture. Feel free to increase the amount of raisins (any other mix of dried fruit) to taste but remember the apple and cinnamon already add sweetness.

The texture of this loaf is quite dense and high in moisture owing to the amount of fresh fruit/veg. Once sliced it can be lightly toasted under a grill and smeared with butter or dairy free equivalent in much the same way as a conventional tea loaf.

Apple and Carrot Earl Grey Tea Loaf
Dairy-free, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 1 loaf

225g eating apples (2-3 medium), cored and coarsely grated
225g carrots (2-3 medium), peeled and coarsely grated
3 medium eggs (substitute 3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 9 tbsp water if vegan)
120ml strong Earl Grey tea
100g (approx 1 cup) ground almonds
70g (approx 1/2 cup) coconut flour, sifted
50g (approx 1/3 cup) unsalted walnuts, roughly chopped
50g (approx 1/3 cup) unsweetened raisins (for a fruitier tea loaf, increase this by 50g)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch sea salt

optional - extra apple slices for decorating

1. Preheat oven to 160 degreees celsius, 320 degrees farenheit.
2. Steep Earl Grey tea bag in 120ml boiling water and add raisins to soak. Set aside for 10-15mins.
3. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
4. In a large mixing bowl combine ground almonds, coconut flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
5. In a separate bowl whisk eggs.
6. Remove tea bag and strain tea into the beaten egg, whisking to combine. Set aside raisins.
7. Add egg/tea mix to dry bowl and mix well.
8. Fold through grated apple and carrot.
9. Gently stir through walnuts and raisins.
10. Transfer to prepared loaf tin, smoothing the surface and decorating with apple slices if preferred.
11. Bake in preheated oven for 1-1 1/2 hours, checking after 1 hour. Loaf should be brown on top, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
12. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
13. Slices can be toasted lightly under a grill to serve and spread with a little butter or coconut oil.