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Mmmm, yummy fruitcake goodness. - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
skywhisperer
skywhisperer
Mmmm, yummy fruitcake goodness.
I never understood why people only make fruitcake at Christmas. And, before the anti-fruitcake crowd starts, this is not the stuff made with that ridiculous colored candied fruit substitute you get at the grocery store. (I was going to say that I have no idea why people buy that stuff, but then I realized that it might make some good macro pictures if I bought a container and dumped it out on the counter. Perhaps a new userpict?)

Anyway, this is Good Eats Fruitcake.

Over the weekend, I went to Central Market and got all the dried fruit. Last night, I did all the chopping, and got the fruit soaking in the rum. I've got enough for 5 batches. I'll probably do 3 batches as loaves and the rest as muffins.

When I got up this morning, my apartment already smelled like fruitcake - lemon zest, orange zest, candied ginger, rum...Tonight, it'll smell even better, since it'll be time to grind up the spices and cook the fruit.

In a week, they'll be ready to eat.

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Current Mood: hungry hungry
Current Music: One Day to Fly - Graham Dye

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Comments
kathygnome From: kathygnome Date: July 19th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never understood why people only make fruitcake at Christmas

Where most of us never understood why they made it at all

:-)
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: July 19th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Resistance is useless. Expect fruitcake in your mailbox in a few weeks.
kathygnome From: kathygnome Date: July 19th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG the post office lets you ship those?! Even after 9/11?!
acelightning From: acelightning Date: July 20th, 2005 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
soak the fruit overnight? ready to eat in a week? that's not fruitcake!

my mother had a crock of mixed dried and candied fruits soaking in liquor that she replenished constantly. any time she ran across a bargain on fruits, or found something new (or a new flavor of liquor), she'd mix it in. it got thoroughly stirred at least once a month, probably more like every week or two. but, like a family stockpot, the original mixture was lost in the mists of time. however, i think the "youngest" stuff in the mix, by the time she started making fruitcake for the holidays (somewhere in September, usually), had been soaking for at least six months previously.

random ingredients i remember: dried apricots, peaches, papaya, apples, pears, regular raisins, "white" raisins, currants, dates, figs; candied lemon peel, orange peel, citron, pineapple, ginger; dark rum, light rum, brandy, sherry, Triple Sec, Frangelico, Jack Daniels, port, that honey-ginger liqueur that comes in a weird bottle, possibly kirsch or apricot liqueur. i know i'm forgetting a lot. the cake batter was vaguely like a rich poundcake, with chopped almonds, walnuts, and maybe other nuts as well, and there was barely enough batter to hold all the chopped fruit and nuts together. she would bake this at a much lower temperature than ordinary cake (250 or 275 F?), for a longer time. as a child, i could almost get a buzz from the smell of those cakes baking!

while the cake was baking, she'd make a syrup out of rum and/or brandy mixed with sugar, and cooked until clear. when she took the cakes out of the oven, as soon as they came out of the pans, she'd brush them with the syrup while they were still hot, repeating this at least three or four times at ten-minute intervals. when they were cool, she'd wrap each cake individually, first in waxed paper, then in aluminum foil, and store them in the coolest part of the house. once a week or so, every week until just before the holidays, she'd unwrap the cakes and brush them with rum or brandy, then re-wrap them.

the final stage was to decorate them with more fruit. she'd make up some more liquor syrup, and brush the cakes with it again at least twice, letting the first layer soak in before adding the next. then she'd arrange things like pineapple rings, glace cherries (red and green), whole almonds, pecan or walnut halves, etc., on the sticky syrup, and brush the whole assemblage with more syrup a time or two. then she'd wrap them in two or three layers of plastic wrap, put a pretty ribbon on it, and give them as xmas gifts - with the admonition to keep the fruitcake in the refrigerator for at least another month before eating it!

a year and a half after she died, my father came across the crock of boozy fruit, and tried his hand at making some fruitcake himself. even though he wasn't anywhere near as good a baker as my mom was, he got pretty close.

skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: July 20th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am but an egg. :)
acelightning From: acelightning Date: July 20th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
well, hey, the recipe itself sounds fine - there's no one right mixture of fruits for fruitcake. you just need to let it soak in the liquor for a lot longer, and also let the cake mellow (with periodic additions of more booze) for a lot longer. fruitcake is not designed for instant gratification ;-)
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