Tu B’shvat, New Year for trees has many different traditions and customs. During the Middle Ages, the Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Lurie of Safed instituted a Tu B’shvat seder which has been recently revived and practised by many Jews, religious and secular. The main idea was that by eating different fruits and drinking 4 cups of wine according to their season we would appreciate G-ds bounty that we so often take for granted and the amazing world around us.
Another custom suggested that when a baby was born, the parents planted a tree in its honour on the Tu B’shvat following the child’s birth. If the baby was a boy, a cedar tree was planted and if it was a girl, a cypress tree was planted. As the children grew so did the tree and when the children got married, the wood was used to make their chupah. As two trees were joined in the chupah so were the bride and groom in their marriage.
This fruit and seed loaf is delicious to enjoy as part of the Tu B’shvat celebrations, or at a buffet tea or even for breakfast with cream cheese and topped with slices of oranges. It is a healthy recipe as the sweetness comes from the dried fruits and it is also packed with a wide selection of ingredients high in fibre.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
Ingredients:400ml hot strong coffee
100g dried figs – hard stalks removed – cut in half
50g porridge oats
200g Self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
100g mixed nuts – almonds, brazils, hazelnuts walnuts
1 large egg
1 tablespoon each – sunflower seeds and sesame seeds plus teaspoons to sprinkle
25g pumpkin seeds
Method1) Preheat the oven to 150 C Fan/ 350 F/ Gas mark 3.
2) Pour the coffee into a large bowl and stir in the figs, sultanas and oats. Set aside to soak.
3) Line the base and sides of 1 kg loaf tin with baking parchment paper.
4) Mix together the flour, bicarbonate soda, nuts and seeds.
5) Beat the egg into the cooled fruit mixture, then stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
6) Pour into the prepared tin, level off the top of the mixture and scatter with the extra nuts and sesame seeds.
7) Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the cooked.
8) Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
To serve the stylish way: Cut into slices, spread with cream cheese and serve with fruit.