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Kerry Beal

Fruitcake -- Bake-Off IX

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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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Lindacakes--

Would you mind sharing the process for these cherries? Did you start with fresh or dried? They look good and I would like to try making some for a last minute chocolate fruitcake.

Thanks.


Edited by Ajl92 (log)

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I really had no intention of participating in this bake-off until I ran across a recipe by Dan Lepard for a fruit cake that had the requisite booze but NO CANDIED FRUITS! (There is the option of using candied fruit if that is what you like.) The recipe calls for 500 grams of dried fruit (any combination) so I used raisins, craisins, prunes and apricots. The recipe uses bread flour rather than cake or pastry flour. The taste is rich and spicy but I think it might have benefitted if I had waited 24 hours before slicing.

gallery_6903_111_24210.jpg

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Oh my, I missed my cue up above -- if you need last minute candied cherries, you can get a recipe from David Lebovitz's web site --

Candied Cherries

I spent two weeks candying my cherries. Each morning I drained the cherries, made a denser simple syrup with the juice and poured it back over the cherries. It takes about 20 minutes each morning, but the results are superior to the recipe above.

I like your impromptu venture into the world of fruitcake, Anna. That one looks really good. I think the fruit mix is very individual -- many folks loath citron but I think it has a taste you can't get anywhere else and love it in certain cakes.

Try aging it some and see if that improves the flavor -- it should.

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I really had no intention of participating in this bake-off until I ran across a recipe by Dan Lepard for a fruit cake that had the requisite booze but NO CANDIED FRUITS!  (There is the option of using candied fruit if that is what you like.) The recipe calls for 500 grams of dried fruit (any combination) so I used raisins, craisins, prunes and apricots.  The recipe uses bread flour rather than cake or pastry flour.  The taste is rich and spicy but I think it might have benefitted if I had waited 24 hours before slicing. 

gallery_6903_111_24210.jpg

How's the texture? I've read a few different recipes for fruitcake where the authors mention that they've tried using regular (not candied) dried fruits instead and that they end up with a dry cake even if they soak the fruit first (which seemed odd to me, I soak the raisins for cinnamon buns and they don't end up dry).

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I have 3 cakes in the oven from Janet's Chocolate Alcohol Christmas Cake recipe. I made 1 large (25cm) cake and two mini loaves. The scrapings from the bowl made a good breakfast :blush:. Picture of finished cakes to follow.

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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

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.

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It would be nice if the whole family thing came together somehow and formed a personage by the name of Pearl Pink.

:cool:

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Mom had been lamenting the loss of her fruitcake recipe for several years. She always talked of the one she made when we were kids that had no candied fruit which she doesn't care for. Last night she told me that she stopped by Bob's Red Mill and they couldn't find a recipe for her. I was like "Hello? It was a Bob's Red Mill recipe? I could find it on the internet had you told me that!" Sho 'nuff. This should make her happy. I'll probably make it this weekend. Maybe one or two others I've seen here too. We'll see.

https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipe/detail.php?rid=696

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I lost my sugee fruitcake recipe and have been pining for it for 3 years. I was so happy to see The Old Foodie post her friend's recipe, from which I made a number of tweaks, which included soaking the semolina in batter for a good 5 hours. These are 5" minis and they disappear very fast.

gallery_12248_5512_18232.jpg

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I finally got round to taking photos of the Chocolate Alcohol Fruitcakes. One mini has already gone (we'll call it quality control). I used some flaked almonds as most people will eat them if they don't like the more traditional nuts.

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I couldnt' stand it-hadn't made a fruitcake in at least 3 years-and since the ca. 2004 edition is now gone, I decided that it was time to get another batch setting to soak to be debuted ca. 2010 or so.

I guess fruitcake is sort of like fine wine-what the winemaker bottles in the Fall of 2007 isn't what he'll open for Christmas Dinner 2007. The 2007 vintage will need a few years to properly age and for the flavors of the wine to develop. And so it goes with fruitcake. I choose December as the month for putting up fruitcake because of the nostalgia of the whole affair-but more practically because I can't find dried pineapple and candied citron in the market in July.

This year I used a recipe out of a 1983 magazine titled "Holiday Cooking." I can't find any reference in the magazine that it was a part of say the Good Housekeeping or Pillsbury series of holiday specialty magazines. It was just one of those holiday magazines at the checkout stand at the market that tempts you to buy it-sort of like that urge that I gotta have the current issue of the National Enquirer. Why it comes over me I do not know.

I added some Molasses and a pint of Guiness to the recipe. There was enough batter for two fruitcakes, and a gallon baggy of the leftover dough that I put in the freezer.

Here are the two freshly baked fruitcakes:

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And ready for a nice, dreamy sleep in a blanket soaked in brandy, two little fellows that we will eat in three years:

gallery_41580_4407_20908.jpg

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gallery_34671_3697_7105.jpg

Christmas day it was finally time to pull out the fruitcake. Nice and moist. I had a single slice while everyone was here and then sent the remainder home with my nephew - he's the biggest fruitcake fan in the family.

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I'm drooling over all of these fruitcakes. I'd gotten so used to getting at least one from somebody every year that I guess I made the mistake of taking it for granted... I didn't get one this year. A perfect opportunity to finally get around to making one for myself you might think. Ummmm... well... I bought one. :blush:

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I lost my sugee fruitcake recipe and have been pining for it for 3 years. I was so happy to see The Old Foodie post her friend's recipe, from which I made a number of tweaks, which included soaking the semolina in batter for a good 5 hours. These are 5" minis and they disappear very fast.

gallery_12248_5512_18232.jpg

These look wonderful! That recipe looks good too, I may have to give that a go next year.

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David Ross Do they really stay for 3 years???

I'm a fruitcake fan :)

Kerry Beal, is there a picture of Phil's White Fruitcake? Looks very yummy!

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David Ross Do they really stay for 3 years???

I'm a fruitcake fan :)

Kerry Beal, is there a picture of Phil's White Fruitcake? Looks very yummy!

Yup, post #37 shows the picture of it cut.

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I realize that a lot of people don't like fruitcake--this thread isn't for them. I take my fruitcakes pretty seriously and only give them to people that I know like them. I got the recipe I like from Glamour magazine in the late seventies(a magazine like that probably wouldn't print something like that now). I prefer to get them made in November but this year I will make them tomorrow(Dec. 2) The ideal aging time is 4-5 weeks, I've found. I've experimented with many liquor variations--bourbon, brandy, etc. but found my favorite is Southern Comfort(100 proof if I can get it)and gin in the batter and sweet vermouth to pour over. I've decided that it's best to think of fruitcake not as a cake but a little bit of batter binding together a bunch of fruit and nuts.

I've also come to realize that Christmas pudding is basically a steamed fruitcake. For that, I like a recipe called "100 year old pudding" from an Australian recipe site called Food Down Under.

So does anybody here like fruitcake or steamed pudding?

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