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Suvir Saran

The Fruitcake Topic

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With regard to the addition of macerated fruit , I have been playing a bit lately and found the following to be worth the expense of the alcohol.

Lexia raisins soaked in Australian liquer muscat

Stem ginger and sultanas soaked in Stones Ginger wine with a splash of whisky

The latter goes well in a lighter style fruit cake but with an emphasis on the ginger rather than the fruitiness

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As a Pastry Chef, I can assure you that I don't make wedding cakes with mixes. It is a British tradition to make them with fruitcake (not American, and not French- they make a croquenbouche). I have never been asked to make a fruitcake wedding cake (lots of vanilla bean, chocolate, carrotcake, genoise, fruit filled, lemon or other curd filled). I have made very many croquenbouche though. In New Zealand, Australia, and Canada- plus England- you will find fruitcake wedding cakes.

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I've been doing wedding cakes in Canada for 10 years now (after several years of doing cakes in the US and Puerto Rico.) Altough, I personally enjoy fruitcake, especially the recipe passed down from my mother, who used to make her own candied fruit for the fruitcakes, during my 10 years of doing wedding cakes here in Ontario, I have had 2 brides request fruitcake. The one bride had family coming from Scotland, and the other was originally from PEI and she was having it because of her family from PEI. I don't even offer fruitcake as an option because the majority of the brides do not like it, and even say they are glad it is no longer what is served as a wedding cake. The most popular choices are sponge cakes- the most popular flavors are chocolate, lemon, champagne, and white.

Sharon's Creative Cakes

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Now here is my suggestion for making cakes like these that include a lot of ingredients.

Do not try to do it all at once, it seems like a really big job.  Instead start out with measuring out the fruit, set it to soak.

On another day measure out the dry ingredients,  place in ziploc bags and place in a large bowl or one of the jumbo ziploc bags along with a copy of the recipe. 

Chop the nuts and store them in a ziploc bag.

Then when you are ready to assemble the recipe all you have to do is get out the perishable ingredients and mix then bake.

I do this with the many cookie recipes I do each year.  I have a bunch of bus trays and totes.

Each one is for a particular recipe.  I line them up and measure out all the dry ingredients, and store in ziploc bags, along with any special utensils needed for a particular recipe, put the tray or tote in a large plastic bag and stack them in the pantry. 

This way I do not get into the middle of a recipe and find I am missing an ingredient and it just generally makes things go so much faster.

yow! THANK YOU for some awesome tips!

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so what do you all do for the candied adn crystallised stuff?

do a lot of you candy your own fruit? do you pop on down to the local supermarket? do you mail order? go to a specialty dried fruit seller?

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I candy ginger, citrus peel and dried fruits (glacé) only because I want a fresher flavor and most of the commercial products mostly taste the same and are hard, not tender as they should be.

If you are going to use dried fruits I do suggest that you plump them in a steamer instead of soaking in water. You will have a much nicer effect, and will not lose any of the flavor to the soaking liquid.

If you don't have an electric steamer, you can get the inexpensive bamboo sets, usually come in a set of three, which you can set on a rack in the bottom of a stockpot to keep the bottom one out of the water.

If you place a plate slightly smaller than the steamer inside each one and put the fruit on the plate, it will steam nicely without getting the steame sticky and without transferring flavor from one to another.

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---------------------------------------------------------

Many of my ancestors were enthusiastic about foods, collected "receipts" and grew odd things.  This one came from one of my paternal ancestors, Patience, wife of Antony Nesbitt, Capt., which is how she named herself in her journals.  Apparently she sometimes sailed with him on his ship during trading trips.

andiesenji, that's absolutely incredible that you possess these journals and old records. I hope I'm not being silly but it gives me goosebumps to think that you have such a direct connection with your ancestors--and in the wonderful form of recipes! The oldest relative I am aware of is my great-grandmother. I don't even know where my ancestors came from!

There have been so many appealing recipes on this post, I can't make up my mind which one to try. But the idea of following a recipe that was written so long ago... very exciting!

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Suvir, thanks so much for this excellent post! I'm a big fan of time-consuming recipes, and if you include candying and steeping your own fruit, this one's going to take forever! Before even starting the cake! :biggrin: I love it. Thanks to you, I'm going out shopping right now to start early preparations!

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hi, i was interested in making the white fruitcake you posted, but am intimidated by the glace pineapples and citron peel required. i dont know how to glace fruit and im sure it takes a lot of time (at least two weeks?) and much effort. for that matter any of these recipes with candied lemon peels, dried figs, etc. i actually really like fruitcake, but have never made any because of the trouble of obtaining high quality candied fruit.

anyhow, i think im going to try the cocoa fruit cake, but wanted to find out about the following:

This is my cocoa fruit cake.

...

1-1/2 DRIED CHERRIES

how much are you talking about? cup or pounds? i guess cups, but i would like to double check.

thanks!

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I am sorry that there is an error in my cocoa fruitcake recipe as posted.

It should say 1 1/2 cups CHERRIES

There should also be an additional sentence which states other dried fruits may be substituted as long as the proportions remain the same.

I have made the cake with dried cranberries and blueberries or a combinaton of all types of berries and with home dried Red Flame grapes which are very plump and sweet. I have even made it with REAL dried black currants a friend sent me from England.

If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can get an assortment of very good dried fruits.

Making glacé pineapple is easy, just buy some dried pineapple, steam it until it plumps and softens then immerse it in simple syrup and gently simmer until it has become translucent.

If you have a small crockpot you can do this without watching it.

King Arthur flour catalog sells very good candied fruit.

Any commercial candied fruit will benefit from the addition of some type of liquor. Brandy is usually the most common, but the sweet fortified white wines by Kedem, often labeled "Sacrametal Wine" is fine too. Put the fruit in a glass jar, add the liquor to cover and close tightly. Shake the jar every day or so, let it soak for a week, drain and save the liquor for using in recipes as it will now be much sweeter or use it to soak more fruit.

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I've been lurking on this thread for a few days and have been inspired to actually make my fruitcake for the year. I have several recipes but this year it is Emily Dickenson's Black Cake that is very similar to the Jamaican Black cakes up thread.

This thread was helpful because someone asked me to donate to a silent auction and I do not want to do a dinner ( too much unspecified obligation - much experience with this) and it is much better to have a displayed item for the auction.

I hit upon a "Basket of Traditional British Christmas Baking" - thus the basket got one of the aforementioned fruitcakes, Grandma McCracken's Carrot Pudding (my contribution to recipe gullet) and the classic shortbread - petticoat tails style. A couple of candles, some small Christmas crackers - not the edible kind, the snapping kind and a recipe for Brandy sauce.

The printed material that goes with it - sort of tap dances around the fruit cake issue I called it Black Cake and suggested it be served with a wedge of cheddar or Stilton and port - suggestion of an early poster - and a fine suggestion it was.

The packaging materials cost more than the edible ingredients but it looks very stylish and appealing .

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hello. i guess this might be a pm, but just in case anyone else has other thoughts, etc, i will be posting this.

i am a closet fruitcake eater and i am excited that i will be making them for the first time!

i decided to make two sets, following andiesenjis two recipes...

i am following the recipes but with changes (i think/hope that they are minor enough). would anyone care to comment on the changes?

for the white fruitcake: the sweet white wine called for will be cream sherry. will this matter? ive never made anything boozy and i dont know anything about wines, etc. but i am guessing this is alright. i tried to find this thing called "Carmel Cream White" called for at the local stores (two places) but had no luck and got dizzy trying to figure out what is a sweet white wine. (whats a chardonnay? riesling? yes, i am so clueless. but i also dont drink...)

for the cocoa fruitcake: i will not be baking this in the pans called for. instead i will be using tiny mini loaf pans. depending on the amount, i will split this up between 4-6 loaves. ive never attempted this sort of change before. but i think i can pull it off. the question is shall i lower the temperature? i will definitely be keeping an eye on it and probably checking half an hour in and every 5 minutes after that, but anybody have any comments about this?

other than these two changes, i will be following the recipes to a T. macerating for two weeks, steaming, soaking for months, etc. whatever the recipes say, except for the two changes cited above... im not going to screw these babies up! (im in the midst of obtaining some citron, even!)

thanks in advance to those with more experience baking who are able to help out with any comments.

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hello. i guess this might be a pm, but just in case anyone else has other thoughts, etc, i will be posting this.

i am a closet fruitcake eater and i am excited that i will be making them for the first time!

i decided to make two sets, following andiesenjis two recipes...

i am following the recipes but with changes (i think/hope that they are minor enough). would anyone care to comment on the changes?

for the white fruitcake: the sweet white wine called for will be cream sherry. will this matter? ive never made anything boozy and i dont know anything about wines, etc. but i am guessing this is alright. i tried to find this thing called "Carmel Cream White" called for at the local stores (two places) but had no luck and got dizzy trying to figure out what is a sweet white wine. (whats a chardonnay? riesling? yes, i am so clueless. but i also dont drink...)

-----------------

Any sweet wine is okay. The white concord by Manichevitz or a combination of sweet muscat and sherry or whatever.

I shop at a lot of stores that cater to Jewish residents and they carry a full line of the sweet wines, both red and white that are traditional and usually on sale near the holidays.

Heck, you could pour in a bottle of Thunderbird and a little brandy and that would work too.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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the cocoa fruitcake has been glazed and is cooling on racks as i write.

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com/~coconut/eg/04/041018fruitcake.jpg"></center>

i tasted a bit and its delicious!

thank you.

comments:

it is a lot of batter! it was enough batter for 9 mini loaves.

the baking took pretty much about an hour. at 30 minutes, i turned the temp down to 325, but at the 45 minute mark turned it back up to 350 since it was still pretty wet at that point. at the hour mark they were just about done and i pulled them out then. next time ill just keep a close eye and bake at 350 all the way.

i had started the glaze just after i popped them into the oven. by the time the hour was up, the glaze was cool enough to touch.

the only change to the recipe i would make is to simplify the glaze... you dont need the water. youre making an orange jam and the water (which you are boiling away during the reduction) is just making the process take more time since orange juice has a lot of water in it to begin with.

i cant wait to begin the white fruitcake!

:wub:

thanks again andiesenji! what a nice family recipe. i am glad you shared it with us. it is amazing how many generations that recipe has lasted! from 1690!!! wow!

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I could not understand the fruit cake jokes when I first moved to the states. My own family took great pride in the making of rich fruit cakes for weddings and christmas, of course well in advance so they could be well fed. But there was also a whole range of "daily cakes" (cakes are still consumed daily on my familys farm) such as date and walnut, tea cakes etc that were not as a rich but still moist.

I to had a tradtional fruit cake for my wedding, although my future american husband was a little worried about it.

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the cocoa fruitcake has been glazed and is cooling on racks as i write.

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com/~coconut/eg/04/041018fruitcake.jpg"></center>

i tasted a bit and its delicious!

thank you.

comments:

it is a lot of batter!  it was enough batter for 9 mini loaves.

the only change to the recipe i would make is to simplify the glaze...  you dont need the water.  youre making an orange jam and the water (which you are boiling away during the reduction) is just making the process take more time since orange juice has a lot of water in it to begin with.

i cant wait to begin the white fruitcake!

:wub:

thanks again andiesenji!  what a nice family recipe.  i am glad you shared it with us.  it is amazing how many generations that recipe has lasted!  from 1690!!!  wow!

Wow! Melonpan, your photo is great and the cakes look scrumptious.

It does make a lot of batter - the bundt pans I use are the large ones, 10 to 12 cup max and the molds for the trees, large and small use a lot of batter.

It is also enough for a full-sized sheet pan to make a thin cake for cutting into shapes. When I do those I completely cover them with chocolate, rather like a petit four.

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melonpan, you don't have to be a closet fruitcake eater! Who wouldn't want to eat your beautiful-looking cakes. What a perfect deep golden color. I was also pretty inspired by this post to make my own fruitcake. Right now I'm letting my dried fruit soak in rum for a couple of weeks. Can't wait to get started.

I was curious though--and this question could be directed at andiesenji as well, or anyone else--about the combination of cocoa and fruitcake. I've never had it before. Is the chocolate flavor quite noticeable? Or does it sort of meld with all the other flavors?

melonpan, any chance we might get a picture of the inside of one of your cakes? :smile: Or are you saving them to give away?

And please send more pictures when you finish the white fruitcake! :biggrin:

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I'll throw down the gauntlet here with an odd question... has anyone ever had fruit cake with lard or pork in it? Specifically a white fruit cake?

I am trying to re-create a fruit cake for a family member who grew up in Texas, and her aunt used to make a fruit cake that (as she says) "had pork in it". I ask "was it lard" and she says "I don't know... do you think you can do it?" The only other thing I can get out of her is that it wasn't actual chunks of pork.

Ideas?? I was looking at andiesenji's recipe for white fruit cake as my starter... maybe I should use freshly rendered lard in place of butter? Maybe that "second" rendering of lard (as per the e-Gullet lard recipe) that's more pork-like?

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Oh, this is so affirming. For the past several years, I have been making the fruitcake that my mother has made for years, based on a recipe from Aunty Pat. The recipe I use looks very similiar to the Black Cake - not surprising since Aunty Pat is Jamaican. We have always called it Plum Pudding or Christmas Pudding, though.

The recipe I use makes vast amounts, and so far, I have found exactly one person outside of my small family who enjoys it. But I am convinced to continue making it, regardless. And this thread not only affirms my decision, but also reminds me that I need to start mincing some fruit!

So, we ususally serve the Plum Pudding with Hard Sauce - a totally sinful mix of confectioners sugar, butter, brandy and sherry. The hard sauce is usually just served in a scoop or a schmear alongside the cake. Is this something that other people do? It seems like many of the fruitcakes recipes here involve icing instead.

By the way, while he doesn't really like plum pudding, my husband has developed a habit of putting a dollop of hard sauce in his coffee. :smile:

edit for grammar


Edited by crouching tyler (log)

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Just the other day, someone gave me the bare outlines of their "West Indian fruitcake" preparations, which they were starting now -- soak yellow and red raisins, currants, pitted dates and pitted prunes in a mixture of 2/3 white rum and 1/3 port or Madeira.  For the rum, I was told to use "overproof" but have forgotten what that meant -- is it just very high proof?

Does anyone have a good recipe for stollen?

The 1981 December issue of Gourmet Magazine had a great Stollen recipe that I used for years, but I'm not sure where I put it--I had lost it once during a move, then got a copy from the library--It's somewhere is one of these recipe files...I'll find it and post it.

I also have a recipe for Chocolate Rum Balls made with Fruitcake! It's a good one to use up the not-so good cakes that come in the mail and sit around all winter. I'll find it and post it, too--they are probably oth on my computer at home--one of these days, I'd like to have all my eggs in one basket--so to speak, or at least all my recipes on all my machines.

Here is the Rum Ball Recipe:

Chocolate Walnut Rum Balls

1 lb. fruitcake, sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces

(I used one of those they sell in gift shops, that have red ruffled parchment paper under them, and wrapped in plastic. Someone had given it to me.)

2 cups (8 ounces) walnut pieces

3 cups confectioners' sugar, divided

3 oz Dark Chocolate bars, chopped

1 /4 cup rum

Place fruitcake and nuts in bowl of food processor fitted with metal chopping blade. Cover and pulse until mixture is very finely chopped. Transfer to mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and chocolate. Mix well with fork. Add rum and mix until ingredients are uniformly moistened. Add a little more rum, if needed, to hold ingredients together.

Line baking sheet with foil, parchment or waxed paper. Shape fruitcake mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling between palms of hands. Repeat to make about 50 balls. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in shallow bowl. Roll balls in sugar until thoroughly coated. Transfer to waxed paper-lined baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Store rum balls in covered container for up to 3 days. Makes 50 rum balls

(though I didn't get 50 balls--more like 30 I guess I made them bigger than 1")


Edited by chefcyn (log)

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Here's another "fruitcake" treasure from my Mom's recipe box that we make every year at Christmas--she got this when we lived in Cuba in the 50s, doing recipe exchanges with other Navy wives:

Whiskey Lizzies

Place 1 1/2 c seedless raisins in a bowl, add 1/4 c bourbon

Mix and let sit for 1 hour.

Mix and sift:

1 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

Mix:

1/2 c butter

1/2 c light brown sugar

Add 2 eggs, beat.

Beat in the flour mixture.

Stir in the Raisins and...

1/2 lb pecans

1/4 c candied citron

1/2 lb candied cherries

Place spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for about 15 min. Makes about 6 1/2 doz.

We've made them with other candied fruit than the cherries, too like pineapple and they were good--like bites of fruitcake.

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melonpan, you don't have to be a closet fruitcake eater! Who wouldn't want to eat your beautiful-looking cakes. What a perfect deep golden color. I was also pretty inspired by this post to make my own fruitcake. Right now I'm letting my dried fruit soak in rum for a couple of weeks. Can't wait to get started.

I was curious though--and this question could be directed at andiesenji as well, or anyone else--about the combination of cocoa and fruitcake. I've never had it before. Is the chocolate flavor quite noticeable? Or does it sort of meld with all the other flavors?

melonpan, any chance we might get a picture of the inside of one of your cakes? :smile: Or are you saving them to give away?

And please send more pictures when you finish the white fruitcake! :biggrin:

The cocoa is definitely present. Think of a dense devil's food cake, very moist, with fruit in it.

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I'll throw down the gauntlet here with an odd question... has anyone ever had fruit cake with lard or pork in it?  Specifically a white fruit cake?

I am trying to re-create a fruit cake for a family member who grew up in Texas, and her aunt used to make a fruit cake that (as she says) "had pork in it".  I ask "was it lard" and she says "I don't know... do you think you can do it?"  The only other thing I can get out of her is that it wasn't actual chunks of pork. 

Ideas??  I was looking at andiesenji's recipe for white fruit cake as my starter... maybe I should use freshly rendered lard in place of butter?  Maybe that "second" rendering of lard (as per the e-Gullet lard recipe) that's more pork-like?

There are a lot of traditional English cakes that use beef suet. Lard has been used in a number of cakes and fruit cakes. I have to look them up, as I don't seem to have any in my computer.

As soon as I find one I will post it.

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ordered some citron from king arthurs site on the 19th. ugh. the mail is taking forever. anyone have a favourite source for my future batches? :D

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