Seasonal local food recipe No.266 – Hugh’s Beetroot and raisin tea loaf

This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls book Veg every day.  The original recipe was for a pumkin and raisin loaf but he suggested using beetroot instead – I’m not sure about the colour!  The loaf itself is rich and sweet but also light as it doesn’t contain any butter or oil.

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour

200g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, separated
200g finely grated beetroot
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g raisins
100g ground almonds
200g self-raising flour
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A generous grating of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3.  Lightly grease a loaf tin, about 20 x 10 cm, and line with baking parchment.  Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and egg yolks together for 2-3 minutes until pale and creamy.  Lightly stir in the grated beetroot, lemon zest and juice, raisins and ground almonds.  Sift the flour, salt and spices together over the mixture and then fold them in, using a metal spoon.  In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.  Stir in a heaped tablespoon of the egg white into the cake mixture to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest as lightly as you can.  Tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and gently level the surface.  Bake for about one hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

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