Place the dried mixed fruit in a bowl and cover with water and let them soak. Soak the almonds in the milk. Drain both well before using (see below) after 1 hour.
Sift the Flour mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl and gently whisk until well combined. This will be used in 2 parts to the recipe.
Mix ½ the Flour mix and the other sponge ingredients (yeast and milk) together until it forms a ball. Do this using a kneading hook on a Kitchen stand mixer or by spoon/hand in a bowl. The dough will be soft and sticky, but have come together to form a ball shape.
Leave in the bowl, covered and at room temperature (or in a warm place if a cold day) for 2 hours. This dough is called the sponge.
After 2 hours place the sponge (as made above), the remaining flour mix, maple syrup, egg, salt, apple sauce, zests, yeast, vanilla extract and spices in a bowl and mix until combined. This can be done using a dough hook on a Kitchen Stand Mixer or by spoon/hand. Add in the drained mixed fruits and nuts.
Knead for a few minutes by hand on a well greased surface. The dough will be quite sticky but try not to add any additional flour. It will be sticky and not easy to knead like ‘normal bread’.
Form the dough into a mound shape and place on a lined and greased baking tray. Let the loaf rest on the table for 45 minutes.
Turn oven on to 175C/350F and place a large, empty baking tray in the bottom of the oven.
Before placing the dough in the preheated oven, use a sharp knife to score the top and make a large X shape. This should be a surface marking and not go deep into the dough.
Fill the empty baking tray with boiling water, and place the loaf in the oven and cook for 35 minutes (this is called ‘cooking with steam’).
After 35 minutes cover the loaf with foil and continue cooking for another 20 minutes (total bake time is 55 minutes). If the bottom pan has become empty refill it with boiling water.
Just before the Fruit Loaf is cooked, place all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
As soon as the fruit loaf is removed from the oven, brush/pour the boiling glaze evenly over the loaf.
The Fruit Loaf can be eaten warm or cold and is delightful for afternoon tea when served with Jam and Cream. The X mark in the top can help divide the loaf into pieces (I cut each quarter into 4 pieces so had 16 in total).