Is that a green cherry or green pineapple I think I see poking out the side? What sorts of fruit/nuts are you using?
If you don't mind my asking, what is the ethnic background of your ancestral fruitcake bakers?
My grandmother was Scotch.
You're seeing some candied green cherries. The Great Northern recipe calls for currants, candied cherries, candied mixed fruit and candied pineapple. The recipe calls for both walnuts and almonds. I think next time I use this recipe I'll add some molasses for extra sweetness and to get the cake really dark in color.
My Father's Aunt Pearl, the baker of his WWII fruitcake, was of Scottish heritage as was your Grandmother! We trace our ancestry back to the mid 1600's in Scotland. They eventually landed in New England and made their way to Missouri in the early 1800's. From there they came by wagon train over the Oregon Trail, settling in Southern Oregon. I suppose that Scottish background and Pioneer spirit taught Aunt Pearl the value of using dried fruits and probably a good measure of Scotch Whiskey to create her wonderful fruitcakes.
On my Mother's side of the family, her Aunt Bertie was the fruitcake baker. Don't you love those old-fashioned names? Pearl and Bertie-the fruitcake bakers.
Aunt Bertie and my Grandfather Ralph were of Russian descent. Their 'American' last name was 'Pink,' but we think it was short for a longer name like Pinkowski. We are not sure, but we think their parents left Russia in the mid-1850's and eventually settled in Twin Falls in Southern Idaho. Their Father, my Great-Grandfather Max Pink, owned a large company that processed sheep pelts and wool. Idaho was once the home to some of America's largest flocks of sheep.
Aunt Bertie was a wonderful Jewish cook. And while she specialized in fried chicken and watermelon rind pickles, it was her fruitcake that stirs loving memories of her kitchen. She was a teetotaler, but that didn't stop her from sending my Grandfather to the liquor store every year to buy her booze for the fruitcake. I am quite sure that what she didn't spill into the fruitcake spilled into a glass by her bed.
I think Aunt Bertie shared the same sensibility and pioneer spirit that Aunt Pearl had when it came to baking fruitcake-using simple, preserved fruits and nuts to create a delicious Christmas cake.