I have dim and hazy memories of my old favourite, Soreen. That sticky, just plain ‘wrong’ texture topped with too much butter is definitely an acquired taste, and along with fig rolls, is usually only acquired (as mine was) in childhood. After nearly 6 years without gluten and, ergo, barley malt; it was a bit of a gamble to try and recreate a taste and texture from memory.
My gluten eating husband was only so much help. ‘Yeah, not bad’. He conceded on my first attempt ‘Not quite as squidgy as Soreen’. And the flavour? ‘Yeah, ok’. Next time I’m handing him elevenses with a 20-question feedback form!
Anyhow, after some research into different syrups and a second iteration, here is a recipe I’m pretty chuffed with. I can’t claim too much credit as it’s an adaptation of ‘the perfect malt loaf‘ from The Guardian, but delightfully this means it’s not only gluten free, but has no dairy, eggs, soya or nuts either. It has sugar though, a massive load of sugar; and just the right kind of ‘wrong’ texture. Enjoy!
You can download the FREE recipe card here: Malt Loaf Recipe Card (or scroll to read in your browser)
(Hold the) Malt Loaf
- 200ml strong black tea
- 7 tbsp date syrup (plus a little extra for the top)
- 2 tbsp rice syrup (or other light flavoured thick syrup. Be careful you don’t get ‘rice malt’ syrup which contains gluten)
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 200g dried prunes (or a mix of your favourite dried fruit)
- 115g gluten free plain flour blend (I use Doves or Infinity Foods)
- 120g buckwheat flour (be careful it’s marked ‘gluten free’ as many are cross contaminated)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Place the prunes, syrups, treacle, sugar and tea into a bowl and leave to soak for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°c, grease and line a loaf tin.
- Place the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a food processor, and whizz briefly to combine.
- Add the syrup and prune mixture, and whizz again to form a soft, sticky batter. Splodge this into your waiting loaf tin.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove, and paint the top with syrup, and leave to cool in the tin.
- When cool, store in an airtight container for at least a day before tucking in – trust me, it’s worth the wait!
If you don’t have a food processor, you can just as easily mix by hand, I just wanted the pieces of prune to be smaller.
With thanks to Adriana over at Gluten Free For Kids for her advice and experimentation. Her ‘homage’ to malt loaf is here.