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Kerry Beal

Fruitcake -- Bake-Off IX

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Well it's that season again, time for me to make my favorite white fruitcake. I use a recipe from my mother's collection - entitled 'Phil's White Fruitcake'. As I recall Phil was Phyllis from church and she was a fine cook. There are several of her recipes in mom's recipe collections. I make a version for my friend Winston without the raisins and with extra glace fruit and pecans. I make the standard version for my nephew. It's a whole lot of fruit held together with a bit of batter made with butter and a nice hit of almond extract.

Dark fruitcakes will have been made long since I'm sure, right now they are just getting their soaking with booze for the holidays. The Black Cake thread has been quite active again recently I've noticed.

There are 3 'alternative' recipes for fruitcake in recipeGullet - one made with sourdough which could add an interesting twist.

Several threads about fruitcake exist, the most active of which seems to be The Fruitcake Topic.

Few foods evoke such a difference of opinion as fruitcake. It seems to be either you love it or hate it, with very few people able to sit the fence between. I like it!

So, I'll be making mine over the next week or so, I'll post the recipe and pictures. Love it if you would join me.

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I'm a fruitcake fancier too Kerry (two Canadians, eh?) and I'm looking forward to this. I'll be honored to join you

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I like fruitcake but it's definitely a once a year thing for me. I have to have one every year (don't care if it's dark or light but actually prefer non-booze versions) but usually by the end of it I'm glad it's gone and don't think about it again until the next year. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never made one, I usually manage to receive one from somebody. Maybe this will be the year I'm not too lazy to make my own... or maybe I'll just wait and see if I get one. :blush:

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Heh heh, I love this. Me and an army of grandmas.

Here's some fruitcake love to counteract any residual fruitcake non-love --

Monkey Makes Fruitcake

I make many fruitcakes throughout the season. Here's something new I'll try for the War Against No Fruitcake effort --

Lynn Rosetto Kasper's Pampepato

Last year I tried my first chocolate fruitcake, and liked it, and I thought I'd try it again. I'll make it this weekend and report back.

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Even though I like a fruitcake, my favourite is a simple teabread that is so easy and good that everyone in my wife's family make it.

In fact its about time we made another :biggrin:

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gallery_34671_3697_6101.jpg

My loaf pans all parchmented and sprayed with oil.

gallery_34671_3697_10263.jpg

I always mix part of the flour in with the dried fruit, theory being that it prevents the fruit from dropping to the bottom, probably not a huge issue in something with this much fruit - however it forces me to mix more to get the traces of flour to disappear so I don't end up with all the cherries in one place.

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This is a double recipe and it makes 3 loaf pans.

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Covered with foil for the first 2 hours of baking, I'll oncover for 30 minutes at the end.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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gallery_34671_3697_97666.jpg

Today's batch. No raisins, just various peels, glace pineapple and cherries. I add a few pecans to this variation.

I wrap in parchment and then vacuum seal. No problem squishing the cake as it's already solid.

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I wrap in parchment and then vacuum seal.  No problem squishing the cake as it's already solid.

I'm a fruitcake newbie...do you then freeze it or leave it at room temp?

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I wrap in parchment and then vacuum seal.  No problem squishing the cake as it's already solid.

I'm a fruitcake newbie...do you then freeze it or leave it at room temp?

I freeze it, but it would probably be ok for several weeks at room temperature.

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I made the pampepato this weekend, as promised.

Perhaps Kerry meant traditional, English style fruitcake, of which I am an officiando. Yesterday I ordered my fruit and nuts for it and as soon as they come, I will make two of those. My traditional fruit cake ages for a month.

I consider any fruit and nut cake a fruitcake, although Lynn Rosetto Kasper makes the distinction of Keeping Cakes -- those that are meant to be kept for long periods. This is a good distinction, as I believe fruitcake originated as a long lasting food to take on the Crusades. Sugar and alcohol are preservatives. In her book Splendid Table, she makes a lovely analogy to candied fruit being akin to jewels in it's preciousness.

It's too bad we're so spoiled by out of season fruits and exotic fruits and candy in general not to appreciate candied fruit any more.

I candied my own cherries this year -- below I've included a picture of them drying on a cooling rack -- the syrup is dripping down below. These cherries taste like heaven -- concentrated fruit flavor.

The candied cherries which cannot wait to meet the world enveloped in fruit cake --

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The unbaked Pampepato, a fun-to-form cow patty --

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The baked Pampepato, with almonds peeking out --

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I've also included pictures of the pampepato before and after baking. Both resemble cow patties. The predominant flavors are cocoa, cloves, almonds, orange peel, citron, cinnamon and pepper. The cake is supposed to ripen for up to four days, so I can't yet tell you what it tastes like -- except that it is not unlike biscotti and has a distinctly Italian flavor.


Edited by Lindacakes (log)

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Kerry -- I am eagerly awaiting your fruitcake recipe, especially after seeing the pictures of the three lovelies you just baked. They look so good, and I am a sucker for almond flavored anything.

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My fruit has been soaking in creme de cacao for Janet (The Old Foodie)'s Chocolate Fruit Cake. It's smelling really good and in danger of disappearing before it becomes fruitcake.

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My fruit has been soaking in creme de cacao for Janet (The Old Foodie)'s Chocolate Fruit Cake.  It's smelling really good and in danger of disappearing before it becomes fruitcake.

A great way to make it disappear would be to fold it through ice-cream .......

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My fruit has been soaking in creme de cacao for Janet (The Old Foodie)'s Chocolate Fruit Cake.  It's smelling really good and in danger of disappearing before it becomes fruitcake.

A great way to make it disappear would be to fold it through ice-cream .......

Please, oh, please tell me where I can find your recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. (looked on your incredible, fabulous, much-loved site, but couldn't find...) Thanks.

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Please, oh, please tell me where I can find your recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. (looked on your incredible, fabulous, much-loved site, but couldn't find...) Thanks.

It is in the recipe archive under the name of Chocolate Alcohol Cake (the alcohol is at least as important as the chocolate)

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1894.html

Have fun

Janet

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Please, oh, please tell me where I can find your recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. (looked on your incredible, fabulous, much-loved site, but couldn't find...) Thanks.

It is in the recipe archive under the name of Chocolate Alcohol Cake (the alcohol is at least as important as the chocolate)

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1894.html

Have fun

Janet

There is also some discussion about Janet's cake in the Fruit Cake topic mentioned upthread by Kerry Beal.

Janet, I have to add that I enjoyed not have to put my thinking cap on to decipher US cups and tablespoons.


Edited by Cadbury (log)

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What a wonderful topic and so appropriate to this time of year-Fruitcake!

Aside from my Mother and Father and long gone Grandparents and Great Aunt Bertie, I'm alone among other family members and friends in terms of my love for fruitcake.

I guess I knew I would find comfort in knowing other eGullet friends would share my passion for fruitcake and I wouldn't hide my fruitcake addiction from the outside world.

I prefer the traditional, dark-style fruitcake. I use a recipe that was used for many years by the chefs aboard the Great Northern passenger trains. Here is a link to a piece I wrote for fun a few years back about my love of fruitcake, the tradition of fruitcake on the Great Northern and the special memories that fruitcake holds for my family. There is a link at the bottom of the page to click that will take you to a page with the Great Northern Railroad's famous fruitcake recipe:

Great Northern Recipe

I'm going to show you some photos of the fruitcake I'll be enjoying this year. But I won't start with photos showing you how I mix the batter and bake the fruitcake-I'm going to show the photos in 'reverse' order. In other words, we'll start with what the fruitcake looks like when it is ready to serve, and work backwards by showing the prep photos in coming days when I make a new fruitcake that will be ready for Christmas 2010.

Why show the finished product first? Well, I'm a traditionalist and when that comes to fruitcake that means you bake your cake years in advance of serving it. You let it sit, or 'stew' as Aunt Bertie would say, wrapped in layers of cheesecloth and placed in a airtight container stored in a deep, dark, cool recess of the pantry. Every few months you douse the fruitcake with a good slog of booze. And that is my key to memorable fruitcake-letting the cake age and steep in liquor for at least a couple of years before cutting it into thick slices. In fact, Aunt Bertie was said to serve fruitcakes that were often 10 years old.

Now don't wince at the thought of eating cake that is older than your toddler. My opinion is anything soaked in more booze than goes in the party punch bowl won't spoil. Mold just doesn't grow on my fruitcake-not when it's liquored up with a bottle of brandy and a few slugs of Kirsch or Grand Marnier.

I hope you enjoy the fruitcake story and these photos. I am sure it doesn't look appetizing to a fruitcake hater. But I am sure that fruitcake afficianados will enjoy the photos:

gallery_41580_4407_59582.jpg

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Has anyone tried Kerry Beal's recipe posted on Recipe Gullet: Phil's White Fruitcake? I don't see that sugar is listed in the ingredients but it is mentioned in the instructions.

Thanks!

Genny

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Has anyone tried Kerry Beal's recipe posted on Recipe Gullet: Phil's White Fruitcake?  I don't see that sugar is listed in the ingredients but it is mentioned in the instructions. 

Thanks!

Genny

Sorry Genny, I've corrected it in recipeGullet. It's 3/4 cup sugar. Poor proofreading on my part.

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Thanks so much Kerry! I've been soaking 3 1/2 pounds of dried cranberries in Grand Marnier for a week and I am baking tonight for a cake exchange on Sunday. I needed to test the recipe for myself to make sure everything was good enough to give away since I'm only doing the cranberry and orange flavors in this.

Have a great night!

Genny

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I belong to the "LOVE" fruitcake crowd. I love it thinly slice with a cup or Earl Grey tea. Unfortunately, it is hard for me to source a lot of the ingredients needed for fruitcake here in Korea (well, my part of Korea that is).

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David,

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.

Linda

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I see the recipe in the link -- thanks!

Very interesting story about the fruitcake on the train.

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