Christmas Fruit Loaf

An eighteenth-century recipe from an Edinburgh manuscript.


  • 1 lb. (½ k.) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ oz. (15 g.) yeast
  • ½ pint ( dl.) warm milk and water
  • 4 oz. (120 g.) butter
  • 6 oz. (180 g.) sugar
  • 8 oz. (240 g.) currants
  • 8 oz. (240 g.) raisins
  • 1 oz. (30 g.) mixed peel (or dates or sultanas)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice


Sieve the flour and salt together. Mix the yeast with a very little of the warm milk and water. Rub the fat into the flour, make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast and allow to sponge for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, beat very thoroughly until a soft dough is obtained. Grease and warm 3 loaf tins and half-fill with the dough. Put to rise in a warm place until the dough comes to the top of the tins (about 1 hour), then bake in a moderate oven, 375° F., gas mark 5, for ¾ hour. Turn out and cool on a rack.

The loaves can be iced with royal or boiled icing.