Put the sugar, dried fruit, and peel into a bowl and pour on the tea. Cover and leave to stand for at least 6 hours.
Add the beaten egg and softened butter to the fruit mixture and stir in Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spice, and beat until smooth. Put into a greased and lined 2-pound loaf tin. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 to 1/2 hours or until well risen and firm to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
Put the rhubarb into a non-metallic saucepan with the 1 teaspoon sugar and a small amount of water. (If you do not want to use sugar with the rhubarb, a piece of angelica stalk will remove tartness from the fruit.) Poach the rhubarb for just a few minutes as you want to keep the pieces whole. Drain.
Pour the rhubarb over the tea bread (you could also pour the juice from the rhubarb over the top just before serving). Top with fresh cream, whipped if you prefer. As with all tea breads, it can also be eaten spread liberally with butter.
Copyright 1999 Clarissa Dickson-Wright