Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

How long do you recommend steaming the fruits for? And any reason to steam just some of the fruit rather than all? The kiwifruit already tastes and looks glace, but the dried pineapple and cranberries I'd like to plump up a bit.

It all depends on the fruit itself. Some need only five minutes of steaming and others, especially if they have been sitting around for awhile, need more time. I test with a sharp bamboo skewer, when it penetrates easily and the fruit looks more translucent than when I started, and it has a soft, chewy texture, it's ready.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, my name is Kay and I am brand new to Egullet and also to baking fruitcake. As a home baker with persistently checkered results, I really never thought that I would ever tackle the task of trying to reproduce my mother’s fruitcake of the early 60’s with really nothing to go on. Hers was dark, moist and I think she used apricot brandy, but I was a schoolgirl and not really paying attention.

After enjoying this fruitcake discussion, I worked up my courage and pulled together several recipes that seemed close, with much from the Great Northern Rail recipe from David Ross. I scaled my recipe nice and small to try things out and after baking only the third small loaf, I am pretty content that I have the flavor and texture I was looking for.

Thanks to everyone and to David for your contributions. So far there has been no more than 24 hours of ripening happening here. My first loaf had fruit in too large of pieces, so corrected that. The second loaf was baked in a different loaf pan and ended up being way undercooked so it had to go. Now that hopefully I have the basics under control, I will now bake several loaves, and then ripen till mid December or so. I am very excited. I will try to add a photo or 2 here if I can.

fruitcake2.JPG

fruitcake1.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

How many years do you think she aged her cakes?

I'm not exactly sure how long Aunt Bertie aged her fruitcakes, but based on my memories and what I remember her saying was that the "young" fruitcakes were at least two years old and the "aged" cakes were over five years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kay, your fruitcake looks beautiful.

Do keep us posted.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was organized enough to cut up my fruit the other night in preparation for making my cakes this weekend.

I steamed the cranberries, and they're now soaking in Cointreau. I also steamed the pineapple slices, which were quite caramelised and almost even smoky. I'm soaking them in a bit of bourbon. I've got sliced kiwis and Xinjiang sultanas for green, plus fresh walnut halves. They were quite expensive, even for China - 50 RMB for 500g.

I'm going to add some lemon zest, and I'd also like to add some cardamon - but black or green, do you think?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saw this topic in the banner this morning.

I like fruit, and I like cake, but the technicolor bits of candied citrus pith in liquor drenched bricks in the cakes my grandmother and then my father used to make were the stuff of nightmares. I have since realized that I can make delicious cakes with dried fruit (stuff good enough to eat plain), sans the liquor, and they can be delightful.

It's fruit, and cake, and actually tastes good.

Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally made the time to bake these on Saturday.

I had the fruits steamed and soaking since Thursday? Wednesday? I can't remember.

The recipe was built off of Jeffrey Steingarten's white fruitcake, which I found at Bon Appegeek.

I made some small adjustments, however. I added two tablespoons only of lemon extract (actually, a bit of the lemoncello I've got brewing), plus the zest of one lemon. I also split the pound of sugar into a half pound white sugar and a half pound brown sugar. This was for practical reasons, as I couldn't find granulated white at my supermarket, so I was stuck with only the half pound I'd had on hand.

I also added one teaspoon of ground green cardamon.

The fruit was a quarter pound dried steamed pineapple soaked in bourbon; a quarter pound of dried cranberries soaked in Cointreau; a quarter pound of dried kiwi, and some dried persimmons to make up the weight. To that, I added a pound of green Xinjiang raisins, and a pound of fresh toasted walnut halves, broken up.

It yielded four cakes. I took one immediately to a group of friends as we got together Saturday afternoon at a local teashop. The chef whipped up a jug of custard for us on the fly, and we had it still warm from the oven. Everyone kept protesting, "But I don't like fruitcake", as they used the crumbs to mop up the custard. I wouldn't use the persimmon again, as they tasted very dusty.

Now I have three left, and I need to figure out how to keep them until Christmas. I don't want to add too much booze, as I think it will overwhelm the flavour. Everything in Suzhou moulds, including my walls and clothes if left in one place for too long, so I need to store creatively. I'd put them in my fridge, but it's a typical Asian fridge size, and I don't want to give up the real estate if I don't have to.

Any suggestions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't need a lot of additional booze to keep them moist. If you can get cheesecloth, pour a little brandy or bourbon into a small bowl, dip in the cheesecloth, wring it out, and wrap the cakes, then wrap them in foil and, if a tin is not available, a ziplock bag. You can put them in the cupboard like this. Check every 3 wks or so and douse with a bit more brandy if needed; I dip the palm of my hand in a saucer of brandy and just pat the cakes. You really are just moistening, not adding a bunch of booze. They sound like a very successful effort.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try using a small spray bottle for applying booze to the cake after it has been wrapped in cheesecloth.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would advise against storing your fruitcakes in the refrigerator. The cakes need to age and the cold retards the aging . . . A cool shelf is a good place, if you have one, or a basement. Don't put them anywhere warm.

They will keep with no booze at all, so if you want a light dusting of booze, that's going to be fine.

I think most people who say they don't like fruitcake have just never had proper fruitcake.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No basement I'm afraid, I'm in a second floor flat. I've left them on a cool counter, and have wrapped two in bourbon cheesecloth and one in Cointreau cheesecloth. We'll see how they fare. I don't want to shut them away in a cupboard, because that's how things seem to mold around here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a tried and true method for knowing when a fruitcake is actually done. I have baked several smallish, 3.5 x 7.5" loafs, dark style, and really only one of them was baked through exactly right.

There were evidently minor variations in the batter/fruit, among my various loaves, so my 300 oven for 90 minutes has not always been right. Skewer poke has not worked.

My undercooked loaves look fine at first, have shallow cracks on top which later close as cooled, and loaves are cooled out of pan as soon as reasonable to remove.

They don't fall or anything. They just later start to have a wet texture and don't soak up the brandy and taste a bit soggy.

My one successful loaf was moist but not soggy in texture at all, and soaked up the brandy without being wet. I am holding off from aging a fruitcake, until I have more consistent results.

All is not lost, my husband will eat anything so his afternoon coffee break is very festive these days and my practice fruitcake supply is staying well ahead of him.

Any good tricks or ideas out there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

In another topic about fruit cakes, Jackal 10 posted that the ideal temp is 200° F in the center.

Use an instant read thermometer and check in two or three places. If your probe happens to hit a chunk of fruit, it may read higher because the fruit seems to heat up more than the surrounding cake.

Found the link: Christmas Cake

P.S. I use the same test for steamed puddings.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such a great tip! I have now baked a mini fruitcake, checked its temp when I would have normally thought it was done, and the temp was just under 180 deg. Back in the oven to 195, cooled it, brandied it, and cut it cold the next morning to check. It was definately cooked through, sturdy but moist, and sliced well cold. All that's left is to let time and more brandy do its work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried the steaming trick this year...poured over a little rum or brandy, depending on the fruit, while still very hot. Half the cakes are still in the oven, the others are cooling, but I feel satisfied with the steaming approach - the fruit wasn't as dropsically distended as a "boiled fruitcake" technique makes it, and the steaming helped strip off the worst of the encrusted sugar.

Digital probe thermometer - oh yes, I love this tip, thank you! When the probe registered 93 deg. C, the sides were pulling away from the cake mold, but the top had not yet cracked. Temperature control was my biggest problem, as I have a small, new, and heavily automated Japanese oven. The emphasis on low power consumption seems to have resulted in an oven that can't get back up to temperature rapidly when food is placed in the heated oven, and last year's Christmas baking was a frustrating experience - the cakes were cooked, and they were OK, but I was not really happy with the final result.

Erin, sorry to hear about the musty flavor in the dried persimmons - I have occasionally had musty/moldy persimmons and the fustiness seems to develop round the sepals. Persimmons have done very badly in Japan this year, and I have not yet seen any dried ones (and precious few fresh ones) in the supermarket. Couldn't find the usual glace kiwifruit either so this year's cakes contain:

Lemon and mandarin zest

Glace cherry tomatoes

Candied ginger

Big black seeded raisins, mixed green and brown sultanas, regular raisins, black currants, apricots, figs, dates, pineapple.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an illustration for those who might still be a bit hesitant about the efficacy of steaming dried fruit.

I took these photos a year ago and as they are of a batch of mixed fruit (plus some candied ginger that has also dried out) they are an excellent example of how steaming changes the fruit from hard and opaque to translucent, attractive and useful.

Mixed fruit dry.png

Fruit after steaming.png

Fruits included are mango, papaya, pineapple, apple, peach, pear and red plums.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glorious fruit arisen from the dead!!!

I tried one of my 2010 black cakes last night.

Hee hee. Superb, if I do say so myself. Makes up for the year I thought they'd make wonderful squirrel food.

New secret ingredient: Peychaud's bitters.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I've been wanting to make fruitcake for decades but am usually too busy. This year, after reading through this entire thread I finally managed to bake a batch in mid-November, which i know isn't enough aging for some of you who post here, but i was pleased with the taste after only a few weeks. I also realized that i didn't want to bake it or even eat it so much as i just wanted to decorate it! (and give it away)

i soaked some small loaves with rum and covered with marzipan (and blanched almonds, candied pineapple, angelica, citron, & candied cranberries):

DSC01713.JPG

DSC01715.JPG

DSC01716.JPG

DSC01700.JPG

and included pecans in half the batch which i doused in Maker's Mark bourbon, omitting the marzipan:

DSC01735.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Janet Taylor
      Ever since Todd talked making cupcakes I have been cupcake crazy. Although, I am not a cake maker but more of a pie person.
      My first dessert that I love that I make is my Coconut Cream Pie w/heavy whipped cream. I don't use low fat anything and probably angioplasties is necessary after this baby.
      My second is Peach Cobbler w/rich vanilla ice cream. I never met a cobbler that I didn't like, but peach is my favorite.
      I don't make these often because I wouldn't be able to get through the front door if I did.
      How about yours?
      .....Janet
    • By amyneill
      Hi all!! 
      I work at an amazing little New Zealand Style ice cream shop in the beautiful Denver Colorado. I was hoping to get a little help on the subject of adding fruit into ice cream after extracting it and ensuring that, when the ice cream is frozen, the fruity bits don't turn into rock hard shards. I am planning on doing a cherry chocolate ice cream and I was going to soak some dried cherries that we're no longer using for something else. I was planning on using some brandy and a ton of sugar, but I was really hoping someone had a tried and true method they could send my way so that I KNOW that the fruit will be luscious as it's frozen. If you have a certain sugar ratio. I know there is the brix test, but to be honest it's been many years since pastry school and I am very rusty. Would love to hear from some of my fellow sugar-heads. 
      Thank you!
      Amy
       
    • By MightyD
      cakes, cookies, pies, that makes you smile!!!!
    • By meryll_thirteen
      Hi guys! I got excited to post something as this is my first one.
      So, the top 3 desserts I like to eat when I was still in Philippines were Halu-halo (literally means mix-mix in english), brazo de mercedes and chocolate crinkles.

      1. HALU-HALO is one of the popular food during summer. This is basically:
      shaved ice with evaporated milk,
      sugar,
      and the following:
      - nata de coco (coconut cream based on a google search, these are cube-like jellies),
      - sweetened red beans,
      - sweetened bananas,
      - cooked sago or tapioca,
      - ube or purple yam,
      - leche flan (this is also one of the best desserts to eat),
      - macapuno (made of coconut),
      - sweetend jackfruit,
      - sweetened kamote (this is similar to sweet potato but caramelized),
      - sweetened kaong (sugar palm fruit)
      - and topped with a scoop of ice cream.
      These fruits are usually bought in jars (found mostly in Asian grocery stores). You basically put the fruits at the bottom, add sugar (if you want because almost all the fruits are sweetened so it's already sweet), then you fill the cup/bowl with shaved ice and add milk. And most importantly, mix it well before you eat because you don't want to eat shaved ice with milk only and then eat the really sweet fruits last.

      2. BRAZO DE MERCEDES
      Yah, I think the name is Spanish? I tried making this but I just failed. It's kinda hard to do and takes a lot of patience but it's really worth it. This is my favourite cake! In Philippines, most bakeries sell this but my favourite is from Goldiluck's which is located in shopping malls.
      Brazo de Mercedes recipe

      3. CHOCOLATE CRINKLES
      These are my favourite chocolate cookies! I think this one isn't really from Philippines but they are really popular. I was kinda shocked when I came here in Canada, because they don't sell these cookies in the bakeries I've been to so I tried baking these on my own. Since my post is getting long, I'll put the recipe as a link at the bottom.
      http://sweb2.dmit.na...rinkles-recipe/
      I hope you enjoyed my post! Happy eating and baking everyone!
    • By ChrisZ
      Hoping for some help.  I accidentally melted an old mould that is very important to us and I've had no luck searching around for a replacement.  
      If anyone knows where I could buy one - or even has one to spare they would be willing to sell - please send me a message.
      The mould (label attached below) was originally labelled as "Easy as ABC gelatin mould", although we just call it the alphabet mould.  Yes there are lots of alphabet moulds around, including new silicone ones, but we need the specific designs on this one to replace the one I damaged.  Depending on the cost, I would consider paying for postage internationally (to Australia).
      Thanks in advance!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...