Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”) is a traditional fruit loaf. The perfect teatime treat or toasted for breakfast.
I’m a little late with my first post for 2016. Christmas holidays spent with our family in Guernsey have certainly whizzed by, even allowing for the additional days courtesy of prolonged storms. High winds, a six metre swell, a damaged ferry and three crossings cancelled certainly contributed to a memorable holiday. Even when we did manage to “escape” the Channel Islands during a lull in the weather, the sea was still on the rough side and I feel so lucky not to suffer from sea sickness.
Whilst on Guernsey we managed to get plenty of beach walks, dodging the wettest of the weather on most occasions. My son and his wife thoroughly spoilt us with a delicious Christmas dinner and I really enjoyed having a rest from cooking on the big day – I was barred from the kitchen and I didn’t even do any of the dishes ! I don’t want to appear completely lazy though, so I would point out I made a nut roast and my Slow Cooker Onion Gravy on Christmas Eve to provide a vegetarian option for the next day.
Each time I visit Guernsey I pick up a Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”). I love a slice of Gâche just as it is or toasted for breakfast, with plenty of Guernsey butter for an extra treat. Gâche is a traditional tea bread made from an enriched yeast dough and plenty of dried fruit; Guernsey butter and milk is used to make this rich tea bread but a full fat milk and a good quality butter can be substituted. Gâche means cake in Guernesiais.
We have so many fond memories of summers in Guernsey, particularly when our boys were young and we’d spend whole days on the island’s wonderful beaches; many a time our Guernsey friends and their children would join us as we “set up camp” for the day. More often than not, a feature of the day was tea from the beach cafe kiosk where real tea in a proper pot, along with cups and saucers, was available in a wooden basket to take onto the beach. A slice of Guernsey Gâche with local butter completed the late afternoon beachside teatime treat. Although the “Beach Baskets” are no longer available for afternoon tea, Guernsey Gâche remains a traditional local favourite.
For this post, I’ve stuck to a traditional Gâche recipe as my Gâche Melée with a twist caused a bit of a stir with some traditionalists. To redress the balance a little come next apple season, my friend and home grown Guern has entrusted me with her mum’s recipe for Gache Melee so watch this space.
In relation to traditonal and family recipes, Christmas day debate this year included whether or not it was acceptable to include carrots in a Bean Jar – I was relieved when the in-laws eventually concluded it was down to a matter of personal preference. Anyway, back to the Guernsey Gâche recipe.
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 175 g butter - preferably Guernsey Butter
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
- A good pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (I used Doves Farm)
- 300 ml milk or water warmed (I used milk)
- 350 g sultanas
- 75 g mixed peel
If mixing and kneading your dough by hand:
- Combine all the dough ingredients except for the dried fruit in a large bowl, stirring them together until they form a ball.
- Knead by hand for 10 to 12 minutes before adding the fruit a little at a time until it is incorporated evenly into the dough.
If mixing and kneading your dough using a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook:
- Add all the dough ingredients except for the fruit into your mixer bowl.
- Mix on slow speed number 1 for approximately 1 to 2 minutes then on speed number 2 for 8 to 10 minutes. Your dough should be lovely and smooth and elastic.
- On slow speed add the sultanas and mixed peel a little at a time until incorporated into the dough.
Rest your dough:
- Place the dough in a greased large bowl and cover with cling film/plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knead lightly into a loaf shape and place into the tin.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size – this should take approximately 1 to 1½ hours in a warm place.
- Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin/pan and preheat your oven to 400°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7
- Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, after 30 minutes lower the temperature to 200°C for the remaining 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool. When you tap the base of the loaf with your fingers, it should sound hollow.
- Enjoy spread with butter, Guernsey butter if you can.
Pin Guernsey Gâche for later:
I’m entering Guernsey Gâche into a couple of challenges this month:
- The Teatime Treats Challenge hosted by Karen over at Lavender & Lovage and Janie at The Hedgecombers, hosted this month by Janie.
- Charlotte’s Food Year Link Up Challenge over at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.