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The Fruitcake Topic


Suvir Saran
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Denser cakes keep better and can be sliced thinner.

Any ENGLISH recipe for fruit cakes, Dundee cake, etc., will slice much thinner.

 

Some fruitcakes from England with big chunks of fruit can be sliced thin and look like stained glass windows.

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"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

 

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58 minutes ago, andiesenji said:

Denser cakes keep better and can be sliced thinner.

Any ENGLISH recipe for fruit cakes, Dundee cake, etc., will slice much thinner.

 

Some fruitcakes from England with big chunks of fruit can be sliced thin and look like stained glass windows.

Very Interesting. How do you define a dense/English recipe? Is it a recipe with less flour?

 

The last recipe I made had 2 cups flour/9 cups mixed dried fruits (all hydrated for a week in bourbon)/5 eggs/ 1 cup butter. It tastes great, but is impossible to cut neatly. The plumped fruit just pulls from the crumb, rather than slices through neatly. I was hoping for "stained glass". Could plumping the fruit make it too moist to cut through cleanly?

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  • 7 months later...

Opinions about soaking candied fruit please. I’m making fruitcake soon and will be adding dried and candied fruit. I’m soaking the dried fruit (raisins, apricots etc) in alcohol, but what about the candied fruit (cherries, lemon/orange peel)? Do you think those should be soaked as well, or just add them to the batter directly? Why and why not?

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@savvysearch,

 

That would be a no from me on soaking your candied fruit. If it has been properly candied and stored, it will already have enough moisture content. All you will do is wash out the sugar used to preserve it, I think. Also, if you use the commercial type with added artificial colors, you'll wash that color out too. It would still be edible, but probably disappointing in appearance and/or taste.

 

That said, I have soaked some crystallized ginger I kept a bit too long, and it dried out, and then compensated for the washed out sugar. That is not the ideal, though. I was just salvaging an ingredient from my mistake.

 

YMMV, and there are many more talented and experienced bakers on this site, than I am. I hope they will chime in.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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As I have noted in previous posts, dried fruits and candied fruits can become too hard for successful use in baking.

Steaming works very well to rehydrate the fruit without losing the candied effect or the color.  

 

On PAGE 13 in this thread, I posted photos of dried fruit before and after steaming - so if you go to that page, scroll down a bit past half way, you can see the difference.

 

I also steam candied ginger that has dried out over time - recently I moved a stack of empty Cambro containers and found one at the back of the shelf that was half full of candied ginger - probably from four or five years ago.  It is hard enough to grind but I am going to steam some of it to bring it back from the "dead" which has always worked nicely for me.  

In a way, this is serendipity because I was planning on buying a few pounds of ginger and candying a batch for fall cooking and baking.  With this "trove" now I can omit that task.  

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.05.14 AM.png

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.05.33 AM.png

 

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"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

 

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This year I need to start a few new fruitcakes, but I won't serve them during the Holidays.  I've still got two "aging."  I think they are about 7 years old and had their last dressing of brandy in July.

 

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As I am gearing up for making fruitcakes for christmas (no cake manages in this house to last a year in the ageing process) it reminds me of a story that is funny now but not so funny then and involved 3 fruitcakes. I was asked to bake my brother-in-law's wedding cake with my mother's fruitcake recipe and I did so well in advance. But as decorating a wedding cake is not something I would even dream of attempting to do I searched around for a professional baker who would decorate it for me. An excellent patisserie close to where I live had just hired a new grad from the local community college which has a very good professional chefs course and he had passed at the top of his class in the pastry arts. So I asked if he would decorate it for me and he consented. So I thought I was off the hook. On the day of the wedding I went to pick up the cake and he remarked to me that the cakes had seemed a little hard and so he had steamed them to make them soft. OMG. Obviously he had no idea what a fruit cake was and thought I had given him stale cakes and he did not bother to call and ask me or anyone else what to do with them if anything. The wedding reception was in a large downtown hotel and as I carried the cake in it began to list to one side as he had put no supports under the tiers of my now very soft fruit cakes and during the reception if fell over. The bride was upset, I was mortified and it took me a long to see the funny side of the story as I do now... the bride however still does not.

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"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

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  • 2 months later...

I'm working my way through the thread, but i didn't find anything with searching so I want to ask - does anyone have a fruitcake recipe that is tasty without a long aging? My dad just asked for some for Christmas and rather than buy one, since he's been unimpressed in the past, I thought I might try to make something. But the recipe I've used previously is not tasty fresh. (It actually starts out a bit dry in the cake bits, and gets better as it soaks up the moisture from the fruit and from the alcohol you add and all the flavors meld. But that means its unpleasantly dry when it hasn't had any aging.)

 

I'm hoping for something that will be successful in small loaf pans so I don't have to give a big huge cake when it's just my parents who will be eating it and they don't need a year's supply of fruitcake in one go.

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If you are OK with a white fruit cake - I offer you Phil's White Fruit Cake - 

 

Sans instructions I realize - but beat the sugar and butter, add eggs, then milk, extracts etc. Dust the fruits with some of the flour, mix the remainder of the flour with the salt and baking powder into the butter mixture. Stir in the dusted fruit.

 

  • ½ lb butter
  • 1 lb bleached raisins
  • ¼ lb citron peel
  • ¼ lb candied pinapple
  • ¼ lb glace cherries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
275 degrees- 2 hours covered with foil, 1/ 2 hour without.
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Does that end up mostly cake with fruit specks, or is it still quite a fruit-dense end result? The amounts seem like a generous amount of fruit to other stuff, if my mental calculations are right. I might do a mix of raisin-type things if I can find more than just normal raisins in good shape. Maybe some dried cranberries? (I hope I can find good fruit locally. The baking supply shop I used to use closed, owner retired. I don't want to have to wait for mail order.)

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5 hours ago, quiet1 said:

Does that end up mostly cake with fruit specks, or is it still quite a fruit-dense end result? The amounts seem like a generous amount of fruit to other stuff, if my mental calculations are right. I might do a mix of raisin-type things if I can find more than just normal raisins in good shape. Maybe some dried cranberries? (I hope I can find good fruit locally. The baking supply shop I used to use closed, owner retired. I don't want to have to wait for mail order.)

Having been the lucky recipient of said cake in years past, I can assure you this is a fruitcake not a cake with some fruit in it.xD

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I might have to give that one a try one of these years. Homemade fruitcake is definitely better than store bought but I don't give them as gifts and nobody else in the house eats it... so I usually just buy a small one for myself and call it good enough.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On December 18, 2016 at 0:05 AM, savvysearch said:

Has anyone tried moonshine cherries or maraschino cherries in place of glace cherries? What’s the overall effect? 

I would think they would weep moisture around them as they baked.  Glacé are much drier.  But I'm not a baker so just speculation 

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From my beloved Northern Pacific Railroad cookbook, the dark fruitcake that was served to passengers during the holidays.  I'm not excited about the flat top, but looks, as we know, don't always tell the truth as to how a fruitcake tastes.  I'll probably not be able to control myself and cut into one.  The other two will need some "curing."  One may be fair by next season.  The other one shall go until about 2020.  We happen to think that my Great Aunt Bertie Pink kept her fruitcakes to the 8-10 year range.

IMG_1456.JPG

IMG_1457.JPG

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On 12/17/2016 at 9:05 PM, savvysearch said:

Has anyone tried moonshine cherries or maraschino cherries in place of glace cherries? What’s the overall effect? 

 

They were in a recipe for a Central American dark fruit cake - macerated for weeks with the other fruit - still best fc I ever had

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A few days ago I reconnected with person who was my neighbor back in the 1970s - the daughter of a neighbor back then, now herself a grandmother.

We were talking about our families and she said she remembered when one of my elderly aunts (great aunt) visited and was telling stories about life on the farm and about the recipes I was preparing for Christmas.

And then there was the story about grandma's "thirty-cent nails" which I had totally forgotten.  

In one of the kitchen drawers, carefully wrapped in wax paper and stored in a muslin bag were my grandmother's "30-d nails"

shiny steel, carefully cleaned and dried.  I think there were a dozen but there may have been more - I was never allowed to touch them.

When the thick batter for fruitcake was placed in the pans, pressed and leveled, each nail would be dipped in oil or wiped with oil and stuck down into the batter, in the center and in a regular patter out to within an inch or so of the outer edge.

The theory was that the metal would heat up in the oven and radiate it into the center so the cake would cook more evenly.

When done, the nails were removed and that left some holes into which the liquor for "dressing" would readily filter down into the interior of the cake.  

I can't believe I had forgotten this because now I am reminded, I can recall standing on a kitchen chair, leaning on the table and watching my grandma or the cook carefully extract the large headed nails from the cake and placing them in a pan to be immediately washed, dried and set on the back of the range to make sure they are 100% dry.  

 

That was a clever trick and I wonder where it originated.  I don't recall ever seeing that in any other method for fruit cakes, although many advise stabbing the cakes with an ice pick or a skewer or ???.

 

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"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

 

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