Thursday, February 18, 2010


People make jokes about fruitcake. I know, I know. It's known to be heavy, over the top sweet, the thing no one wants to eat over the holidays. But...I don't give a damn about it's bad reputation. I think it probably IS gross when made with green and red maraschino cherries and sulfite-full candied pineapple.
That sort of fruitcake hearkens back to that weird, 1960's aesthetic of food. The one where it's supposed to look like not-food, when science was going to save everything and make food even better than nature did. Yuck.

Like most things, though, made well with real, really good ingredients, fruitcake is awesome.

Our fruitcake, in contrast to that bad kind of fruitcake, was made with delicious and naturally colored dried fruit--nothing resembled bright Christmas tree baubles. We also decided that since really all fruitcake is made of is fruit and cake, we could use whatever kind of dried fruit we wanted. So we took some liberties with the classic combinations, using our favorites; dried sour cherries--a northwest delicacy--and apricots, pineapple, black figs, crystalized ginger and prunes. Also, I hate/am possibly allergic to rum, so we used brandy and Grand Marnier instead, soaking all the fruit in the brandy for a day before baking. I did a lot of research and got used this as a composite recipe.

We made these decadent cakes in December, to give as gifts at Christmas.

3 c sugar 1 c raisins 1 tangerine 1 lemon 2 c dried apricots 3⁄4 c dried pineapple 3⁄4 c dried sour cherries
1/4 c crystalized ginger
1/2 c black figs 1 c pitted prunes
1 c golden raisins
1 vanilla bean
3 + c brandy 2 c walnuts 1 c butter, melted 2 tsp. vanilla extract 6 eggs, lightly beaten 4 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt
Chop vanilla bean and all dried fruit, excepting cherries, into varying sizes. With the raisins place the chopped vanilla bean. Place in bowls and divide the brandy amongst the bowls. Let soak for at least 4 hours.

Check the fruit intermittently and add more brandy if it looks a bit dry.
Zest and juice tangerine and lemon.

Combine all fruits into a big bowl and stir in sugar, lemon and tangerine juice/zest, butter and eggs.

Preheat oven to 325. Grease four tins, we found quirky molds at Goodwill for $.99.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the fruit mixture.

Pour batter into greased tins and bake for about an hour and a half (depending on how deep the molds are). Check intermittently with a toothpick. Cool for half an hour, run a knife around the edge of the pan, then carefully turn onto a plate or rack. Brush generously with Grand Marnier. Serve immediately or put in a tupperware or ziplock bag and freeze.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That sounds so good. The Brandy-soaking fruit makes my chest all warm just thinking about it. Did it turn out super moist and dense?