Oh, You Fruitcake Part 2!

‘Tis the season to make holiday foods and one that has been getting a bad reputation is fruitcake.  Fruitcake has been known be hard and dense, laced with too much alcohol, old, ancient…my goodness, the adjectives just goes on and on.  But is it really that bad?  I personally have never tasted a fruitcake so I really didn’t know what to expect.

Aside being curious about fruitcake, this entry serves a dual purpose.  Almost one year ago, my partner for this blog, Tara, posted her last entry about her experience making a fruitcake.  I truly miss her posts and this one is dedicated to her.  Please read “Oh you fruitcake” dated January 2, 2011.

In this post, I did have some help from a good friend who took some of the photos and helped out with a few steps.  So if you see pink and a jade bracelet, that’s not me.  No.  Really it’s not me! Thanks for helping out. 🙂

I believe this fruitcake recipe uses updated ingredients for today’s palette, a bit more gourmet, if you will.  Yet, you can find all these ingredients in your local supermarket.

Ingredients:
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup currants
1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
1/2 cup sun dried blueberries
1/2 cup sun dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 cup gold rum
1 cup sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken
Brandy for basting and/or spritzing

Wow, it seems like a ton of ingredients!

 But it really wasn’t.  Just a lot of yummy goodies.

Using my favorite utensil in the kitchen, the grater, I grated the skin of an orange and a lemon.  When you do this, make sure you only get the very top layer of the skin and not the white pith underneath.  It’s very bitter.

Put all the fruits and ginger and zest together and add in the 1 cup of the gold rum.  Let the fruits and rum marinate together over night.

The next day, some of the fruits should have been rehydrated from the rum.  Um….ignore my dirty dishes in the background. 🙂

In a pot, put in the fruit with the liquid, butter, apple juice, sugar and spices and bring to a boil while stirring.  I got it boiling at setting 7 on my stove.  After it boils, reduce heat.  I put my stove down to 3.

Simmer for 10 minutes.  The butter should all by melted.  The butter hasn’t melted quite yet in this photo.  After simmering, remove from heat and let sit until room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325F

After the fruit mixture has been off the stove and cooled, sift in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. And mix with a wooden spoon.

After the batter has been mixed, add the eggs and stir again.

Chop up some pecans

Toast the pecans in a hot dry pan.  The purpose of this is to release the essential oils from within the nut to enhance its flavor.

Put the pecans in the batter and fold it in.

Pour the batter in the loaf pan.  Don’t fill it all the way up because of the baking soda and baking powder, the batter will expand upwards.  So fill each up 2/3 of the way.

Since I used my mini loaf pan, the cooking time is shorter.  It was done after baking for 40 minutes.  It might be different for you, so use a toothpick to poke down the middle a loaf.  If it comes out clean, then it’s done.  Otherwise, bake for an additional 5 minutes and check again.  Repeat if necessary.

I put a little peach brandy on the loaves to moisten it.  And a little goes a long way. Cool the cake in the pan to room temperature before flipping it out on a wire rack.

Notes:
These tasted good!  I offered some to a person who absolutely hates fruitcakes because of bad childhood memories.  So he was hesitant to try.  But I convinced him that it wasn’t like what he remembered.  So after his first bite, he was pleasantly surprised that it was moist and delicious and not overly sweet.  Banished is the old fruitcake reputation.  Hip hip hooray!

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/free-range-fruitcake-recipe/index.html

– Max

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