My husband’s Aunty Betty was a legend in her own right. She lived to be a 100 years old. (She passed last year not long after she reached this milestone).
Aunty Betty was a great cook. As someone who lived and worked through the second world war, she was of the generation who ‘had’ to knuckle down and ‘make do’ when cooking from scratch. I can only imagine the recipes she and the rest of the folk living through those times had to improvise with. (Potato peelings pie anyone)?
Aunt Betty was born in 1922 and she passed in September 2022. Her immediate family probably have a million stories to tell about her life. I know I’ve loved hearing and reading the stories her close family have privileged us with by sharing.
A few weeks before she passed, our local news station did an interview with her A link here if you’re interested in her life. She was an amazing lady.
Anyway Aunty Betty had a recipe for the most amazing plum bread. It was known throughout the family how delicious her plum bread was. Over the years, I made plum bread occasionally, (hubs loves it). but I know it never matched up to Aunty Betty’s and to be honest it’s not something I made very often.
When Aunt Betty passed, her family were kind enough to share her recipe, (I wasn’t the one who wanted a copy lol). It was just as delicious as I remembered and I soon started making it myself for my family. Now it’s something I make on a weekly basis and I often gift it out to friends and family. (Makes a great homemade Christmas gift). So with the family’s permission, I’m going to share the recipe with you. (Thank you Tina and Ann).
By the way, the ingredients are in imperial measures, if you use metric, then here’s a handy tool to convert.
This makes two large loafs, if you don’t want this amount, then just half your ingredients. I do the full amount because I know it will all get eaten..
14 oz flour
10 oz granulated sugar. (I’ve used castor sugar as well, I don’t think it matters so much)
Approx 1/4 pint of milk
6 oz currants
6 oz sultana’s (I just use 12 oz of mixed fruit)
12 oz chopped cherries, (I just use a tub from Aldi, tesco etc and chop in half).
2 beaten eggs
Mixed spice to taste.
Wash your fruit and leave it to dry
Rub your fats into the flour. (I cheat and use my hand mixer to do this bit).
Add the sugar and fruit then stir in your beaten eggs with some of the milk, then add the rest of the milk.
Combine your mixture until it’s thoroughly mixed together, making sure it’s not too sloppy. You might not need all of the milk.
Divide into two well greased loaf tins. I prefer to use cases which you can buy from Home bargains or Amazon. (Home bargains are cheaper).
It should look like this..
Then bake in the oven for about 2 – 2.5 hours at gas mark 2 or 125 -140c in an electric oven. Don’t forget to use the lower heat settings if it’s fan assisted or it will cook too quickly and become dry.
Tip.. I’d start checking on it from 1.5 hours. If it’s getting too brown too quickly, then turn the heat down just a tad.
From 2 hours onwards, start checking to see whether the loaves are fully cooked by inserting a knife into the middle. If it comes out clean, then it’s cooked.
Once cooked, turn out onto a wire tray to cool.
This plum bread can be kept up to a week in an airtight container (If it lasts that long) and it’s delicious either buttered or just on it’s own. I’ve found it best not to cut into it until the day after as its so soft, it tends to crumble on that first day. . It hardens up just enough to cut nicely without crumbling if you leave it over night.
Your final loaves should look somewhat like these.